Closing arguments in the Texas Senate impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton begin on Friday morning in the Capitol. House Managers and the defense team will present their summation to the 30 voting senators serving as jurors in the impeachment trial.
The lawyers have 60 minutes each to present their final arguments to the jury of Texas state senators on the floor os the Senate that has served as the courtroom for this historic proceeding. Over the past two weeks, the attorneys presented evidence and cross-examination in regard to the 16 Articles of Impeachment being considered by the senators.
On Thursday, the defense team called four witnesses to rebut the evidence presented by House Managers and their attorneys. The four witnesses are all current employees of the Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG).
Each side had 24 hours of courtroom time to present their case and cross-examine witnesses.
The 16 Articles of impeachment center around allegations that Ken Paxton abused his office and used the power of the office to help Natin “Nate” Paul, an Austin, Texas, real estate developer. The House Managers charged that Paul provided Laura Olson, the mistress of AG Paxton, with employment in San Antonio. Paul is awaiting trial on federal charges of making false statements to banks regarding more than $170 million in loans.
Once the attorneys complete their closing arguments, the senators will retire to chambers to deliberate each of the 16 counts. After that deliberation, the senators must vote on each count of the 16 Articles of Impeachment, the Senate rules state. Senator Angela Paxton, the wife of AG Paxton, is recused from voting on or deliberating on the matters being considered.
The senators will write their “Yea” or “Nay” vote on a slip of paper, which the court clerk will draw in random order and read into the record. The clerk will announce the result of the count. As president of the Senate, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick will call on each senator who will stand and confirm their vote orally.
A two-thirds vote (21 votes) is required to convict Paxton on the considered charge. If convicted, the senators must vote again as to whether Paxton is to be barred from ever holding a position of public trust in the future. This also requires a two-thirds majority.
The process will be repeated for each of the 16 counts. The remaining four Articles of Impeachment related to Paxton’s ongoing securities fraud charges are being held in abeyance.
A conviction on at least one count will result in the permanent removal of Paxton from the elected office of attorney general.
Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She is a trial lawyer who practices criminal defense and family law in East Texas. She was a Texas prosecutor and family court associate judge in Harris County, Texas.
Bob Price is the Breitbart Texas-Border team’s associate editor and senior news contributor. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.