The Texas Senate voted to acquit Attorney General Ken Paxton on all 16 articles of impeachment Saturday, marking the end of a stunning saga that has divided the ruby red state’s GOP.
Paxton, a Republican, dodged removal from office amid allegations of corruption and bribery, which would have required 21 votes from a jury of 30 senators to convict on any of the articles of impeachment. The state’s highest law enforcement official was only the third office holder in Texas’ nearly 200-year history to be impeached.
“Today, the truth prevailed. The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors,” Paxton said in a statement issued shortly after his acquittal.
Paxton, who was suspended from office after he was impeached by the Texas House, will be allowed to resume his duties.
The attorney general was not present when the Senate cast its votes. Paxton’s wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, sat as a non-voting member of the court and did not participate in private deliberations. Paxton’s Senate trial began Sept. 5, with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick serving as judge and the senators as jurors.
Paxton’s career has been riddled with scandal: He has been under FBI investigation for years over accusations that he used his office to help a donor and was separately indicted on securities fraud charges in 2015, though he has yet to stand trial.
His impeachment followed an investigation by a Texas House committee that concluded Paxton may have committed numerous crimes and that he had abused his office to help his friend and donor Nate Paul, an Austin real estate developer.
The GOP-controlled Texas House voted overwhelmingly to impeach Paxton in May, and House impeachment managers served as the prosecution in the Senate trial.
Support from the GOP had begun to fray as Paxton’s position grew increasingly precarious.
Cornyn (R-Tex.), a former Texas attorney general, called the allegations “deeply disturbing,” and Rep. Chip Roy, who worked for Paxton, called for his resignation. Former Rep. Louie Gohmert wrote that pursuing Paxton is not an example of “corrupt prosecution;” and Konni Burton, a former Texas state senator who had the most conservative voting record, said she believed Paxton “abused the office.”
The attorney general has closely aligned himself with former president Donald Trump, who jumped to defend him against “establishment RINOs” — “Republicans in name only” — earlier this week.
Trump celebrated Paxton’s acquittal on Truth Social Saturday, calling it a “great and historic Texas sized VICTORY.”
Several Texas Republicans also took to social media to congratulate Paxton following his acquittal.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Gov. Greg Abbott noted Paxton’s efforts to push back against Biden administration policies.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach,” Abbott wrote.
Sen. Ted Cruz echoed this sentiment and called Paxton the “most effective conservative AG in America,” adding that he looked forward to seeing him back in office.