Ken Paxton impeachment: Former employees testify about relationship with Nate Paul

Day two of the impeachment trial for suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton wrapped up Wednesday, Sept. 6. Paxton is facing nearly 20 articles of impeachment.

On Wednesday, the prosecution claimed the whistleblowers came together to do the right thing, while the defense claimed they wanted to supersede an elected official.

"The prosecution really made a very strong case. I thought saying that Nate Paul is not a good person and that this is somebody the attorney general shouldn't have been hanging around with. Whereas the defense did a very good job. I thought saying, you know what, this is a group of rogue employees who should have gone to their boss rather than taking it to the fed. So, there were a lot of pluses on both sides, but we're starting to see how the case is going to play out," St. Edward’s University Political Science Professor Brian Smith said.

The impeachment trial started Wednesday with Jeff Mateer, Paxton’s former first assistant, in the witness chair. He testified about Paxton’s relationship with controversial political donor and Austin developer, Nate Paul.

"He clearly was very alarmed about things that he experienced, and obviously it went against a lot of things he believed in to say negative things about his boss," Constitutional Law Attorney David Coale said.


Mateer claimed he acted in good faith and at one point thought Paxton was being blackmailed to help Nate Paul.

"I concluded that, Mr. Paxson was engaged in an conduct that was immoral, unethical, and I had a good faith belief that it was illegal," Mateer said.

During cross-examination, Paxton’s defense attorney, Tony Buzbee, went through some of the articles of impeachment and tried to squash the accusations.

"Where Mr. Buzbee made a lot of head roads was on specifics because of course, they've got to show something happened. Not liking somebody isn't enough to get them impeached," Coale said.

Mateer testified Paxton was intervening in several legal problems facing Nate Paul, including one with the Mitee Foundation. Buzbee pointed out, Mateer approved the memo.

"You approved it," Buzbee said.

"I did approve it," Mateer said.

"So this article is hogwash," Buzbee said.

"I would think we would need more information," Mateer said.

Buzbee also accused Mateer of trying to overthrow the attorney general.

"You were involved in staging a coup weren’t you," Buzbee said.

"Absolutely not," Mateer responded.

Another witness took the stand on Wednesday, former deputy first assistant attorney general Ryan Bangert, who also expressed concerns about Paxton’s relationship with Nate Paul.

"There are other high level people that left the office, so I think he may have been testing what theories about their credibility seems to have action and what didn't and I think when the next person comes up like that, you're not going to see five different theories of bias anymore, you're going to see one or two because he honed it down a little bit," Coale said about the defense.

Bagert’s testimony continues Thursday.