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Timeline: The legal woes of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Throughout his time as attorney general of Texas, Paxton has faced many controversies.

AUSTIN, Texas — The impeachment trial for suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is set to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 5. Paxton faces 20 articles of impeachment, alleging misconduct and abuse of office.

But the impeachment trial is far from the first legal issue Paxton has faced while in office. Throughout his time as attorney general, he has faced many controversies.

Below is an interactive timeline detailing some of the attorney general's legal woes over the near-decade:

A further breakdown of Paxton's legal issues can be found below:

April 2014 - July 28, 2015

The Texas Tribune breaks the news in April 2014 that then-state senator and attorney general candidate Ken Paxton was paid for soliciting clients for an investment firm but wasn't registered with a state board. 

Paxton eventually pays a $1,000 civil fine.

A left-leaning group asks the Travis County District Attorney to look into the case, but the DA decides to wait until after the November election.

Paxton is elected as the state's attorney general. The Travis County DA passes the case along to Dallas and Collin counties, where the alleged crimes took place.

With the statute of limitations almost up, the Collin County District Attorney steps off the case because of his relationship with Paxton. The Texas Rangers and independent special prosecutors take over the investigation and present it to a grand jury.

On July 28, 2015, Paxton is indicted.

RELATED: Five years after indictment, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton still hasn't had his day in court


Paxton's criminal trial on securities fraud charges is set to begin in May.

In May, a state appeals court temporarily halts Paxton's criminal case while it considers his request to oust his judge.

In June, Paxton receives a new judge in his securities fraud case.


Paxton runs for reelection and wins.

Oct. 3, 2020

A group of top aides for Paxton asks federal law enforcement to investigate him for possible crimes that include bribery and abuse of office.

RELATED: 7 high-ranking whistleblowers allege criminal violations against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Nov. 5, 2020

Former high-ranking executives at Paxton's office claim they faced retaliation and intimidation after making allegations against him.

RELATED: Texas Attorney General's Office whistleblowers complain of retaliation

Nov. 13, 2020

The Associated Press reports that Paxton had an extramarital affair with a woman whom he later recommended for a job with the wealthy donor at the center of criminal allegations against him.

RELATED: AP sources: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's affair tied to criminal allegations

Nov. 13, 2020

Four senior aides to Paxton file a lawsuit claiming he retaliated against them after they alerted federal investigators about possible improper and illegal dealings with an Austin investor.

RELATED: Whistleblowers file suit against Texas AG Ken Paxton, claiming retaliation

Dec. 10, 2020

KVUE Senior Reporter Tony Plohetski confirms that FBI agents have issued at least one federal subpoena for records from the Texas Attorney General's Office in an ongoing investigation into the allegations against Paxton.

RELATED: FBI subpoenas Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton amid whistleblower allegations

Jan. 11, 2021

A group of activist leaders gathers outside Paxton's office to call for his removal, claiming he is "criminally and morally unfit for office."

RELATED: Texans call for Ken Paxton's resignation outside Texas Attorney General's Office

March 25, 2021

Paxton's office refuses to release all messages he sent or received while in Washington for the pro-Donald Trump rally on Jan. 6.

RELATED: Ken Paxton refuses to release messages sent while at pro-Trump rally on day of US Capitol riot, report says

June 2, 2021

Paxton asks an appeals court to toss the whistleblower case brought by former top aides.

RELATED: Ken Paxton asks appeals court to toss whistleblower case brought by former top aides

June 9, 2021

The Texas Bar Association begins investigating whether Paxton’s failed efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election based on bogus claims of fraud amounted to professional misconduct.

RELATED: AP Exclusive: State bar investigating Texas attorney general

Aug. 24, 2021

An internal investigation undertaken by Paxton's office clears him of breaking any laws after allegations by several high-ranking aides.

RELATED: Texas AG Ken Paxton's office clears him after allegations by former high-ranking staffers

Oct. 21, 2021

The Texas Third Circuit Court of Appeals issues an opinion stating that the former employees of Paxton's office who accused him of abuse of power and other legal violations are protected by the Texas Whistleblower Act. The court also affirms a previous district court decision to deny Paxton's motion to dismiss.

RELATED: Court says whistleblowers who accused AG Paxton are protected by Texas Whistleblower Act

Jan. 7, 2022

Paxton asks the Texas Supreme Court to dismiss the whistleblower lawsuit by four former employees who said they were fired after accusing Paxton of abuse of power and other legal violations.

RELATED: AG Ken Paxton asks Texas Supreme Court to dismiss whistleblower lawsuit

Feb. 21, 2022

The whistleblowers who sued Paxton after he fired them for accusing him of abuse of office and bribery speak out for the first time.

RELATED: Report: Whistleblowers say AG Ken Paxton is misleading Texans about allegations

March 3, 2022

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals adds to its docket a lower-court ruling that moved Paxton's securities fraud criminal case back to Collin County.

RELATED: Texas Court of Criminal Appeals adds AG Paxton securities fraud case to docket

May 6, 2022

Paxton announces that the state bar is suing him for professional misconduct related to his lawsuit challenging the 2020 presidential election.

RELATED: Ken Paxton says he’s being sued by the state bar for misconduct over his lawsuit challenging the 2020 election

May 25, 2022

A disciplinary committee for the State Bar of Texas files a professional misconduct lawsuit against Paxton for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections in four battleground states won by President Joe Biden.

RELATED: Texas state bar files professional misconduct lawsuit against Ken Paxton for attempt to overturn 2020 presidential elections

Sept. 20, 2022

A district judge throws out the State Bar of Texas’ professional misconduct case against Brent Webster, Paxton’s top aide, for his work on a case that challenged the results of the 2020 presidential election.

RELATED: Judge dismisses attempt to discipline Texas AG Ken Paxton's top aide for trying to overturn the 2020 election

Sept. 26, 2022

Paxton flees his home to avoid being served a subpoena for a federal court hearing in a lawsuit from nonprofits that want to help Texans pay for abortions out of state, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

Later the same day, Paxton filed a motion to seal the affidavit, arguing that the server “loitered at the Attorney General’s home for over an hour, repeatedly shouted at him, and accosted” Paxton and his wife. The motion was granted by a U.S. district judge.

RELATED: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his home to avoid being served with subpoena, court record says

Nov. 8, 2022

Paxton defeats Democrat Rochelle Garza in race for attorney general, securing a third term.

Feb. 9, 2023

Paxton agrees to apologize and settle the whistleblower lawsuit for $3.3 million. In the settlement, which is to be paid for with public dollars, it says that "Attorney General Ken Paxton accepts that plaintiffs acted in am after that they thought was right and apologizes for referring to them as 'rough employees.'" He also agrees to remove a statement from the AG's website that called the whistleblowers "rogue employees."

The Texas Legislature is required to approve the settlement agreement.

Feb. 16, 2023

Justice Department officials in Washington, D.C., take over the corruption investigation into Paxton, removing the case from the hands of federal prosecutors in Texas.

RELATED: Justice Department in DC taking over Texas AG corruption probe

Feb. 21, 2023

Paxton asks the House Appropriations subcommittee for $3.3 million to fund the whistleblower settlement

Assistant Attorney General Chris Hilton tells the subcommittee that the Attorney General's Office has already spent nearly $600,000 in taxpayer money on the case and argues that paying the settlement agreement is in the state's financial interest.

Hilton argues that the cost to taxpayers could exceed the agreed-upon settlement amount if the lawsuit were to continue. Hilton also clarifies that Paxton is not personally responsible for paying the settlement because the lawsuit is against the Attorney General's Office and not Paxton himself.

RELATED: Texas AG Ken Paxton asks House subcommittee to fund $3.3M whistleblower settlement

March 6, 2023

Nate Paul, the Austin real estate investor central to the allegations of illegal conduct by Paxton, is found in contempt of court, fined more than $180,000 and ordered to serve jail time.

RELATED: Nate Paul, real estate investor in Paxton corruption allegations, found in contempt of court, ordered to jail

March 8, 2023

The whistleblowers file a motion asking the Texas Supreme Court to agree to allow their lawsuit to proceed because, they say, Paxton's office will not agree that the Texas Legislature would have to approve the settlement during the 2023 legislative session.

The court granted a joint motion on Feb. 16 agreeing to abate the lawsuit while the parties proceeded with settlement negotiations, but the March 8 motion states that Paxton's office said in oral communications that "it has maneuvered" the whistleblowers into a "GOTCHA position."

The motion also states that in written communications, Paxton's office said that it was researching what happens if the Legislature decided not to fund the settlement during the 2023 session.

RELATED: Proposed $3.3 million settlement in whistleblower lawsuit against Texas AG Ken Paxton in jeopardy

May 23, 2023

The Texas House's Committee on General Investigating sends Paxton's office a letter stating that there is a House investigation into Paxton asking for public money to settle with the whistleblowers and instructing Paxton's office to preserve records.

Later the same day, Paxton sends a tweet from his personal account calling for House Speaker Dade Phelan to resign at the end of the current legislative session. Paxton says Phelan was recently "in a state of apparent debilitating intoxication" while presiding over the House, apparently referring to videos shared across social media days earlier, showing Phelan slurring words while presiding over the chamber.

Paxton's office also sends a letter to the chairman of the Committee on General Investigating, Andrew Murr, calling for an investigation into Phelan "for violation of House rules, state law, and for conduct unbecoming his position."

In response to Paxton's tweet, Phelan's office calls the action "little more than a last-ditch effort to save face" over the investigation into the whistleblower allegations.

RELATED: Texas House speaker Dade Phelan's office responds after AG Ken Paxton called for his resignation

May 24, 2023

The House Committee on General Investigating begins its hearing regarding the investigation into Paxton's $3.3 million whistleblower settlement. Four invited witnesses are scheduled to provide testimony. 

The hearing has no legal bearing.

Meanwhile, on a morning talk show, Paxton is asked about the House investigation into him. 

"I don't know. This is unprecedented for what they're doing. I have no idea why they've chosen to do this," Paxton says. "This is a level that is shocking to me, especially from a Republican House. This is what they're [using their] time to do instead of some of the important things like school choice."

May 25, 2023

The Texas House committee investigating Paxton recommends that he be impeached and removed from office, citing a years-long pattern of alleged misconduct and lawbreaking. The Republican-led committee issues 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton.

The following day, May 26, Paxton calls on his supporters to protest the impeachment proceedings.


Texas House committee recommends impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas lawmakers issue 20 articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton

May 27, 2023

The Texas House of Representatives votes to impeach Paxton in a 121-23 vote. The vote triggers Paxton's immediate suspension from office pending the outcome of a trial in the Texas Senate and empowers Gov. Greg Abbott to appoint someone else as acting attorney general.

RELATED: Texas House votes to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton

May 29, 2023

The Texas House names a board of managers to handle the prosecution, made up of seven Republicans and five Democrats.

RELATED: Texas House names Ken Paxton impeachment managers; Senate trial will start by Aug. 28

May 31, 2023

Gov. Greg Abbott appoints former Secretary of State John Scott to serve as interim attorney general.

June 1, 2023

Texas House introduces the two high-profile Houston attorneys – Dick DeGuerin and Rusty Hardin – who will represent the chamber's case in the impeachment trial. 

June 8, 2023

Nate Paul, the man whose name has frequently been linked to Paxton's, is charged on an 8-count federal indictment. The charges allege Paul committed multiple financial crimes in 2017 and 2018.

Paul later pleads not guilty on June 23. On July 6, a federal judge overseeing Paul's impending trial grants his request for modified bond conditions, allowing him to continue litigating civil cases from prior to his arrest. On July 21, court records show Paul's trial postponed one year.

Jun 14, 2023

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturns lower-court decisions to rule that the securities fraud case against Paxton should remain in Houston

Lower courts had said that Paxton's trial had been improperly moved from Collin County, where he lives, to Harris County because the trial judge had lost jurisdiction over the matter. But the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled the Texas Constitution and state law protected the judge's authority over the case.

RELATED: Ken Paxton’s securities fraud trial will remain in Houston, court rules

June 19, 2023

Paxton's wife, State Sen. Angela Paxton, confirms she will participate in his impeachment trial.

RELATED: Ken Paxton's wife will participate in his impeachment trial

June 21, 2023

Texas Senate adopts 31 rules for the impeachment trial, including one excluding Angela paxton from voting on "any matter, motion, or question" in the trial and from participating in closed deliberations.

The rules also include a gag order preventing senators from discussing the proceedings with anyone outside the court. Additionally, the senators adopt a resolution to notify Ken Paxton that the impeachment trial will start at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

July 4, 2023

Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, the lead attorney for Paxton, says the AG will not testify in his impeachment trial.

July 10, 2023

Gov. Greg Abbott appoints Angela Colmenero as the interim attorney general, effective July 14, following the departure of John Scott.

Colmenaro has served a Abbott's deputy chief of staff since November 2021. She previously served as the principal deputy general counsel to the governor.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott appoints Angela Colmenero as new interim Texas attorney general

July 17, 2023

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issues a wide-ranging gag order ahead of the impeachment trial, saying "out-of-court statements" by both sides could jeopardize the trial in the Senate.

July 31, 2023

Paxton's lawyers request that all but one of the 20 articles of impeachment be dismissed, arguing Paxton's removal would "override the will of the people" who elected him with knowledge of his alleged misconduct. 

The attorneys also request that the impeachment trial exclude evidence of "any alleged conduct" that occurred prior to January 2023, when Paxton's third term in office began.

Aug. 3, 2023

Paxton appears in a Houston courtroom for a hearing as a criminal defendant. However, his trial on securities fraud charges will have to wait until after the impeachment trial.

If convicted of defrauding investors in a Dallas-area tech startup by not disclosing he was being paid by the company to recruit them, the AG could get up to 99 years in prison.

RELATED: Suspended Texas AG Ken Paxton in Houston courtroom as criminal defendant

Aug. 4, 2023

Paxton's attorneys file a new motion to get impeachment Article 5 thrown out. That article claims Paxton appoitned a prosecutor, who then filed multiple grand jury subpoenas to benefit Paxton's firend and political donor, Austin-based real estate investor Nate Paul. The attorneys claim that is not an impeachable offense.

Aug. 16, 2023

New filings in Paxton's impeachment trial allege that Paxton received "bizarre" help from Nate Paul to hide his affair with a former Capitol staffer while helping Paul during an FBI investigation into alleged fraud.

The filings state that Paxton "morphed the Office of the Attorney General into Paul's concierge law firm."

RELATED: Paxton used burner phones, secret emails and fake Uber accounts to carry on affair, friendship with Nate Paul, filings allege

Aug. 18, 2023

The Texas House impeachment managers submit nearly 4,000 pages of exhibits for Paxton's impeachment trial. The document dump provides granular detail of how Paxton allegedly abused his office to help Nate Paul. 

RELATED: Ken Paxton’s team said there was no evidence to support impeachment. The House published 4,000 pages.

Aug. 19, 2023

Marc Brown, a former state appeals court judge, turns down an appointment to serve as an adviser to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during the impeachment trial. On Aug. 28, Patrick names Lana Myers, another former state appeals court judge, as his counsel.

Aug. 29, 2023

More than a dozen attorneys – including three former presidents of the State Bar of Texas – file a complaint asking the State Bar to investigate Paxton and potentially prevent him from practicing law in the state. The attorneys say Paxton has "disgraced" the legal profession and cite the same allegations of abuse of office and misconduct that Paxton will face in his impeachment trial.

Aug. 31, 2023

The Associated Press publishes a report detailing allegations from ex-staffers that Paxton pursued perks beyond the allegations he faces in his impeachment trial.

RELATED: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton pursued perks beyond impeachment allegations, ex-staffers say

Sept. 5, 2023

Paxton's impeachment trial in the Texas Senate is set to begin at 9 a.m.

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