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Paxton live updates: Texas senators acquit Texas AG on all articles of impeachment

The suspended attorney general was accused of a range of allegations, including disregard of duty and bribery involving Nate Paul, an Austin real estate developer.

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas senators on Saturday acquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton on all 16 impeachment articles in his trial, allowing him to return to office immediately.

A two-thirds vote in favor of finding Paxton guilty was required to sustain any of the impeachment articles, but none of the votes reached that threshold, or even a majority in favor of guilty.

Most of the articles were voted down 16-14, though one failed 28-2 and another failed 22-8.

Texas senators debated from around noon Friday and into the evening hours, before returning to the Capitol for more deliberations Saturday morning. Around 9:45 a.m., Texas Senate officials announced that senators were ready to vote. An initially scheduled vote for 10:30 a.m. was pushed to 11:10 a.m.

The senators then began voting on each article of impeachment individually, writing "yay" or "nay" on a piece of paper. A clerk would then read each senator's vote aloud to the crowd, and then Patrick would confirm each senator's vote.

By 1 p.m., Paxton, who was not present for the vote, was acquitted on all articles of impeachment.

Paxton had faced 20 articles of impeachment, but senators were only hearing 16 of the articles in the trial, which spanned nearly two weeks at the Texas Capitol in Austin. 

We'll have continuous coverage Saturday. Watch here:

Verdict is in: Here's how the senators voted on the 16 articles of impeachment against Ken Paxton

***In order to be found guilty, there needs to be 21 "yes" votes against Paxton.***

  • Article 1: Disregard of official duty - Protection of charitable organization - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 2: Disregard of official duty - Abuse of the opinion process - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 3: Disregard of official duty - Abuse of the open records process - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 4: Disregard of official duty - Misuse of official information - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 2
    • No (acquit votes): 28
  • Article 5: Disregard of official duty - Engagement of Cammack - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 13
    • No (acquit votes): 17
  • Article 6: Disregard of official duty - Termination of whistleblowers - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 7: Misapplication of public resources - Whistleblower investigation and report - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 8: Disregard of official duty - Settlement agreement - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 8
    • No (acquit votes): 22
  • Article 9: Constitutional bribery - Paul's employment of mistress - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 12
    • No (acquit votes): 18
  • Article 10: Constitutional bribery - Paul's renovations to Paxton home - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 15: False statements in official records - Whistleblower response report - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 16: Conspiracy and attempted conspiracy - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 17: Misappropriation of public resources - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 18: Dereliction of duty - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 19: Unfitness for office - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 20: Abuse of public trust - ACQUITTED
    • Yes (convict votes): 14
    • No (acquit votes): 16
  • Article 11: Obstruction of justice - Abuse of judicial process
    • Set aside.
  • Article 12: Obstruction of justice - Abuse of judicial process
    • Set aside.
  • Article 13: False statements in official records - State securities board investigation
    • Set aside.
  • Article 14: False statements in official records - Personal financial statements 
    • Set aside.
  • Motion to dismiss the other four articles (11-14) that were not part of trial:
    • Yes (dismiss): 19
    • No (against dismissing): 11

Saturday morning scene in Austin 

WFAA's Natalie Haddad was live in Austin on Saturday morning, as senators were set to resume deliberations. Here's her report from the Capitol:

Paxton closing arguments recap 

Former Paxton ally Leach delivers closing argument against him 

Jeff Leach, the Republican state representative from Plano, delivered the final 10 minutes of the prosecution's closing argument against Paxton.

The move was significant in that Leach was formerly a longtime ally and friend of Paxton and from Paxton's home county of Collin County. But Leach voted to impeach Paxton in May, and he's been on the House Board of Managers prosecuting him.

"This has been one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do in my life," Leach said. 

But Leach pushed the senators, who will decide Paxton's fate, to ask themselves: "What is right?"

"I believe that is right, as painful as it might be, for you to vote to sustain the articles of impeachment commended to you by the Texas House of Representatives," Leach said.


Buzbee on Paxton affair critics: "You should be ashamed" 

Paxton lawyer Tony Buzbee only briefly touched on Paxton's extramarital affair and its involvement in the impeachment trial during his closing argument Friday. And he used it to attack any critics of Paxton.

"We all have sinned and fallen short," Buzbee said. "The only person who can't be forgiven is somebody who is so cynical they can't ask. If this impeachment is based on a marriage impropriety, then line up. We're going to be doing a lot of impeaching in this city. You should be ashamed of yourselves."

Cogdell: Witness "dumber than a bucket of hair" for saying Paul investigation wasn't legit 

Paxton lawyer Dan Cogdell finished the defense's closing arguments with a five-minute appeal to the senators, focusing on the lack of evidence and what the witnesses testified.

And Cogdell, a seasoned defense attorney from Houston, dropped a line that got plenty of attention. Cogdell was talking about David Maxwell, Paxton's former top law enforcement investigator who testified that investigating a complaint from Nate Paul would be interfering with a federal investigation - a crime.

Cogdell called Maxwell's reasoning "dumber than a bucket of hair."

"When he gets up there and looks at you with a straight face and says it's a crime to investigate whether something is a crime, come on," Cogdell said. "We were born at night, but not last night. That is dumber than a bucket of hair. For a Texas Ranger to say it's a crime to investigate the legality of a search?"

Buzbee attacks prosecution's case as political, takes a jab at Bush family 

Paxton lawyer Tony Buzbee harped on the political nature of the case, saying the House impeachment managers didn't bring any evidence against him.

"I would suggest to you this is a political witch hunt," Buzbee said. "This trial has ben displayed for the country to see a partisan fight within the Republican party. There is a battle for power. Because there's no doubt these folks did not prove a case. They didn't prove anything other than they don't like Ken Paxton."

Buzbee then attacked the Bush family, noting that Paxton beat George P. Bush in the Republican primary last year.

"The Bush era in Texas ends today," Buzbee said. "We thought it had ended in the primary when Paxton beat George P. Bush. Well, now we had an impeachment trial. It ends today. They can go back to Maine. This is Texas."

Buzbee's aside about the Bush family drew attention, especially in conservative circles. Paxton after the closing arguments retweeted a post from "ULTRA MAGA PARTY," which shared a clip of Buzbee's closing argument and quote about the Bush family.

Prosecution: Paxton 'gave the keys to the office' 

Rep. Andrew Murr, the Texas House Impeachment Manager who delivered the beginning of the closing argument for the prosecution Friday, described Paxton as giving "the keys to the office" to Nate Paul, and ultimately only doing so to serve himself.

Murr said Paxton's attorneys have "blindly ignored the fact that he has ultimately ended up serving one person: Himself."

Murr said Paxton had built an "exceptional" leadership team in Jeff Mateer and other top staffers. But Paxton's "desire to deliver results for Nate Paul eventually tore the office apart."

"He repeatedly demanded that his top deputies act as Nate Paul's personal lawyers," Murr said. "He gave the keys to the office."

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