AUSTIN (KXAN/Nexstar) — The Texas Senate will hold the impeachment trial against Attorney General Ken Paxton no later than Aug. 28, according to a resolution adopted Monday evening by a unanimous vote. This action followed the appointment of 12 House members who will effectively serve as prosecutors during the trial.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also named seven senators Monday evening to serve on a special committee that will outline the rules for the trial to proceed. The chair will be Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, while Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, will serve as the vice chair. The other members include Sens. Brandon Creighton of Conroe, Pete Flores of Pleasanton, Joan Huffman of Houston, Phil King of Weatherford and Royce West of Dallas.
The committee members are tasked with bringing forward the “rules of procedure” they establish during a meeting of the full Senate now set for June 20. At that time, they will decide what it will take for the Senate to convene as a “court of impeachment.”
Earlier in the afternoon, the Texas House of Representatives approved which 12 of its members will serve as managers. The group includes seven Republicans and five Democrats, including all the members of the House general investigating committee that first recommended articles of impeachment against Paxton over years of alleged misconduct. Here’s a list of the impeachment managers:
- Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, chair.
- Rep. Ann Johnson, D-Houston, vice chair.
- Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth.
- Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso.
- Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg.
- Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Allen.
- Rep. Oscar Longoria, D-Mission.
- Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas.
- Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Houston.
- Rep. Cody Vasut, R-Angleton.
- Rep. David Spiller, R-Jacksboro.
- Rep. Erin Elizabeth Gámez, D-Brownsville.
The House approved their selection by a vote of 136-4. Afterward, the 12 impeachment managers walked across the Capitol to deliver the 20 articles against Paxton to the Texas Senate, where the trial will unfold. It remains unclear when that will begin yet.
During a news conference held by the 12 managers Monday evening, Murr explained to reporters that they are now obligated to put on the impeachment trial for the Senate, whose members will now act as the jury. He said they will call witnesses involved in the House committee’s investigation to testify under oath and face potential questioning from Paxton’s attorneys. He would not comment on whether Paxton’s wife, Republican Sen. Angela Paxton of McKinney, should recuse herself from playing a role in the trial.
“This is about facts, and this is about evidence,” Murr said. “My colleagues and I will not stand for public corruption.”
Murr said it will be up to the Senate to adopt rules for how the trial will proceed, when Nexstar asked about Sen. Paxton possibly recusing herself.
Johnson responded to a question about someone representing Paxton reportedly delivering binders of materials about Paxton’s planned defense to senators already. She said that could amount to jury “tampering,” but Murr would not comment on whether that could result in an additional impeachment article being filed against Paxton.
Paxton posted pictures on his personal Twitter account Monday showing dozens of supporters rallying on his behalf in Collin County. He wrote, “Thank you to all in Collin County for your support today!”
The House voted 121-23 on Saturday to impeach Paxton, which immediately led to his suspension from office pending the outcome of the Senate trial. The 20 articles of impeachment came as a result of a two-month investigation that began after Paxton asked to use state funds to settle a $3.3 million whistleblower lawsuit filed by four former employees who accused him of wrongdoing.
During the trial, senators will act as a jury and must take a vote of impartiality. The Senate needs two-thirds of votes in favor in order to remove a candidate from office. A convicted leader would be forced to leave office permanently.