Lawyers representing suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed two motions on Monday calling for nearly all of the articles of impeachment against him to be dismissed and for any evidence of Paxton’s alleged misconduct that occurred before he was last elected to be excluded from the Senate trial.
His legal team cited the “prior-term” doctrine – which protects statewide officials from removal from office based on actions before their most recent election – claiming that those who voted him into office knew of Paxton’s abuses of office outlined in 19 of the 20 articles.
The article not included in the lawyers’ motion to dismiss pertains to the attorney general’s request for the Legislature to pay for the $3.3 million-dollar whistleblower settlement reached in a case involving claims that Paxton terminated high-ranking officials from his office who accused him of misconduct.
However, the lawyers wrote that this article should be dismissed for separate reasons, which would be addressed elsewhere, indicating the probability of more dismissal motions ahead.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick – presiding over the impeachment trial against Paxton – issued a gag order two weeks ago due to what he termed “prejudicial and inflammatory” statements from those involved in proceedings.
Paxton’s legal team referred to the House impeachment managers as “aggressive, reckless, and misleading,” claiming they have little evidence to back the allegations addressed in articles against Paxton.
According to rules adopted for impeachment proceedings by the Senate, Patrick will rule on all pretrial motions on the first day of trial. Folowing that, a two-thirds majority vote would be needed to dismiss any articles.
Paxton’s lawyers have filed additional motions, including requests for three Democratic senators – Nathan Johnson (Dallas), Roland Gutierrez (San Antonio) and José Menéndez (San Antonio) – to be removed as jurors in the trial and for House impeachment managers to hand over information they had in their possession.
The trial against Paxton will begin September 5. This is a developing story and will be updated as needed.