Members of the newly-appointed Texas House impeachment board of managers delivered to the Texas Senate on Monday the articles of impeachment against Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The House overwhelmingly voted to impeach Paxton on Saturday by a vote of 121-23 after the GOP-led House General Investigating Committee bought forth last week 20 articles of impeachment including bribery and abuse of public trust. The resolution came after a two-month investigation that began after the general asked the state legislature to use state funds to settle a $3.3 million lawsuit with former employees.
After the House’s vote Saturday, Paxton was immediately suspended.
Speaker Dade Phelan on Monday appointed 12 representatives, including seven Republicans and five Democrats, to the board. After the representatives were named, they walked across the Capitol and presented the articles of impeachment to the Texas Senate.
The impeachment board will present the case to Senators who will serve as jurors and will ultimately decide if Paxton should be removed from office. Two-thirds of the Senate must agree with the House’s prosecutors to permanently remove Paxton from office.
Phelan named state Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction) and state Rep. Ann Johnson (D-Houston), who are the chair and vice chair of the House General Investigating Committee, as chair and vice chair of the board of managers.
The other 10 managers are Reps. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth); Joe Moody (D-El Paso); Terry Canales (D-Edinburg); Jeff Leach (R-Plano); Oscar Longoria (D-Mission); Morgan Meyer (R-University Park); Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park); Cody Vasut (R-Angleton); David Spiller (R-Jacksboro); and Erin Gamez (D-Brownsville).
Moody, who chairs the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, released a statement Monday afternoon.
“It would be inappropriate to comment on the case itself before its resolution,” said Moody. “But what I can say is that I intend to approach it ethically, diligently, and professionally, allowing the evidence—not partisanship—to dictate the process. Chairman Murr, Vice Chair Johnson, and the rest of the House managers are people of impeccable character who I’m confident will do the same.”
Murr said the 12 the House managers, acting as prosecutors in an impeachment trial, would “manage this process with the weight and reverence that it requires.”
“This is about facts and evidence,” Murr said during a press conference Monday. “This is not about politics.”
Johnson added she has concerns about possible interference after some members of the Senate reported they received binders from the Office of the Attorney General outlining the proposed strategy of defense for Paxton.
“We expect as this committee has thoughtfully engaged in the process with the highest level of integrity, that the individuals on the other side would realize dropping a binder on your potential jurors could be considering tampering or attempting to interfere with a lawful process,” Johnson said.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), will serve as the judge in the trial. Patrick named a 7-member committee to decide on rules and procedures for the trial. The group consists of five Republicans and two Democrats, including Sen. Royce West (D) of Dallas. The committee is expected to convene on June 20.
“When the rules are drafted, a date will be set for when the Senate will resolve into a court of impeachment to consider the articles,” Patrick said in a statement.
The Senate unanimously adopted a measure Monday that called for the trial to begin not later than Aug. 28.
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