The Texas House of Representatives on Monday delivered articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton to the state Senate.
The delivery came after the GOP-led House named the board of managers – comprising five Democrats and seven Republicans – who will oversee the impeachment proceedings. Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, is leading the board, The Dallas Morning News reported.
The House approved 20 articles of impeachment on sweeping allegations of wrongdoing against Paxton that have trailed the state’s top lawyer for years, including abuse of office and bribery. The vote immediately suspended Paxton from office.
Among those who opposed the impeachment was State Rep. Brian Harrison. He argued that House leadership ‘made no attempt to adequately document [Paxton’s] guilt nor to demonstrate that this is anything other than a sham railroading of a political enemy.’
The House needed just a simple majority of its 149 members to impeach Paxton, and the final 121-23 vote was a landslide. But the threshold for conviction in the Senate trial is higher, requiring a two-thirds majority of its 31 members.
If that happens, Paxton would be permanently barred from holding office in Texas. Anything less means Paxton is acquitted and can resume his third term as attorney general.
Later Monday, the Senate unanimously adopted a measure that called for the trial to begin no later than Aug. 28.
Paxton bitterly criticized the chamber’s investigation as ‘corrupt,’ secret and conducted so quickly that he and his lawyers were not allowed to mount a defense. He also called Republican House Speaker Dade a ‘liberal.’
The AG’s office tweeted Saturday that the impeachment was based on ‘totally false claims.’
‘After an internal investigation, the OAG retained an outside law firm to further investigate, which culminated in a report. The OAG offered it to the House, but they refused,’ the AG’s office said.
The impeachment charges include bribery related to one of Paxton’s donors, Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, allegedly employing the woman with whom he had an extra-matrial affair in exchange for legal help.
Another Republican senator with a potential conflict is Sen. Bryan Hughes. The House impeachment articles accuse Paxton of using Hughes as a ‘straw requestor’ for a legal opinion used to protect Paul from foreclosure on several properties.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is expected to set a trial date in the Senate and name committee members to establish rules that will govern the impeachment proceedings. The Senate will ultimately decide whether Paxton stays in office. Patrick, who is president of the Senate, will preside as judge.
‘Today, the Texas Senate received Articles of Impeachment for Attorney General Ken Paxton,’ Patrick tweeted. ‘The Senate will follow its constitutional duty and I appointed a committee to develop proposed rules and procedures for the matter.’
Fox News Digital has contacted Phelan, Murr, and Paxton for further comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.