Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton acquitted in historic impeachment trial

Austin, Texas - The Texas Senate on Saturday acquitted the state's suspended Republican attorney general of bribery and corruption, allowing for the reinstatement of the archconservative ally of Donald Trump.

Suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted in his landmark impeachment trial.
Suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted in his landmark impeachment trial.  © Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Ken Paxton was suspended from office in May after the lower chamber - run by his fellow Republicans - overwhelmingly voted in favor of impeachment over accusations of abuse of power, underscoring Paxton's divisive profile in his own party.

The 60-year-old has won a national profile as a thorn in the side of the administration of President Joe Biden, as he has filed dozens of lawsuits to block the implementation of national policies.

The Republican-led Senate voted Saturday to fully clear Paxton of wrongdoing on 16 articles of impeachment.

Elected in 2014 to head the Texas justice system, Paxton won reelection in 2018 and again in 2022 despite facing a criminal indictment for financial fraud, which remains pending.

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During his tenure, he filed some 50 lawsuits against the Biden administration, challenging its migration, tax and environmental policies.

Donald Trump reacts to Ken Paxton's acquittal

Donald Trump (r) congratulated Ken Paxton on his acquittal via Truth Social on Satruday.
Donald Trump (r) congratulated Ken Paxton on his acquittal via Truth Social on Satruday.  © Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

In 2020, four members of his inner circle went to the FBI to complain of his alleged abuse of power in protecting a powerful donor.

The whistleblowers were fired and then sued for wrongful dismissal. Early in 2023, Paxton reached an agreement to settle the lawsuit with a $3.3 million payment.

He asked that taxpayers foot the bill, setting off the divisive inquiry by state lawmakers.

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Paxton was jubilant after Saturday's vote.

"The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors," he said on social media.

For his part, Trump, on his Truth Social account, congratulated Paxton "on a great and historic Texas sized VICTORY."

Paxton still faces legal peril, including a pending trial on securities fraud charges and the possibility that he will lose his law license in Texas.

Cover photo: Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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