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Texas Senate sets date for impeachment trial of suspended AG Ken Paxton

The Texas Senate will begin no later than August 28 an impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton, a powerful Republican in the second largest US state, on years-long charges including corruption, lawbreaking and abuse of power and public trust.

The state Senate adopted a resolution on the matter on Monday, reports Xinhua news agency.

In a 121-23 vote on May 27, Paxton was impeached in the Republican-led state House.

Up to 60 Republicans including House Speaker Dade Phelan voted against the state’s top lawyer.

Twelve House representatives, appointed to act in a role similar to prosecutors presenting a case to the Senate, presented on Monday the articles of impeachment to the Senate chamber across the rotunda.

“This is about facts and this is about evidence,” said state House Representative Andrew Murr, a Republican who will lead the House managers.

Also on Monday, the Texas Senate named a seven-member committee to prepare the rules that will govern the impeachment proceedings.

Paxton, 60, with the support from former President Donald Trump, insisted the impeachment “was a politically motivated sham from the beginning”.

There are currently 12 Democrats and 19 Republicans in the Senate, including Paxton’s wife, Angela.

A vote by two-thirds of senators would be required to permanently remove Paxton from office.

The leadership of Texas Senate is thought to be more closely aligned with more hard-right Republicans including Paxton, local analysts say.

Paxton was re-elected in the 2022 midterm elections despite being under indictment on felony securities fraud charges as well as an FBI probe into whistleblowers’ bribery claims against him.

According to an investigation by the General Investigating Committee, a Texas House panel, Paxton repeatedly abused his office and may have committed at least three felonies in an effort to help a friend and political donor, Austin real estate investor Nate Paul, with various legal troubles.

Committee investigators also reviewed criminal charges that have been pending against Paxton since 2015, when a Collin County grand jury indicted him on two counts of felony securities fraud related to private business deals in 2011.

Paxton is only the third sitting official in Texas’s nearly 200-year history to have been impeached, following Governor James Ferguson in 1917 and District Judge O.P. Carrillo in 1975.

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