Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a controversial ally of former US President Donald Trump, was acquitted this Saturday in an impeachment trial in the state Senate that sought his removal on corruption charges.
After two weeks of deliberations, the majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives acquitted Paxton of all 16 charges against him, including bribery, breach of public trust and incapacity to hold office.
With this ruling, the Texas Senate allows Paxton, who was temporarily suspended in May, to resume his duties as head of the attorney general’s office, a position won through popular elections.
The impeachment process was pushed forward by Republican lawmakers after years of controversy over Paxton’s figure, but state party leaders and conservative groups pushed for him to finally be acquitted.
During the hearings, former associates of the attorney general revealed details about how Paxton allegedly used his position to benefit his friend and real estate entrepreneur Nate Paul, who in return paid for renovations to his home and helped him cover up an extramarital affair with a former assistant.
The defense called the allegations “offensive” and “completely false.”
His wife, Angela Paxton, is a Republican Party senator and attended all sessions of the impeachment trial but was not allowed to vote, so there was no conflict of interest.
At the same time as his impeachment trial in the Senate, Paxton is being investigated by the FBI for corruption and has also been accused of fraud since 2015.
He was elected to his third term in the Texas District Attorney’s Office last November and was among the prosecutors who asked the Supreme Court in 2020 to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, in which he defeated Trump.
During his long political career, he was the protagonist of notorious controversies, including for deceiving investors when selling stocks, stealing a luxury pen or fleeing his home to avoid a court summons.
Only two Texas officials have ever been indicted: a governor in 1917 and a district judge in 1976.