AUSTIN, Texas - A Senate trial for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will happen before the end of this summer. For now, Paxton is suspended from office, after the Texas House overwhelmingly voted to impeach him on Saturday.
Late Monday, the newly-appointed House impeachment managers, led by the Republican chair of the General Investigating Committee, Rep. Andrew Murr, delivered the articles of impeachment against Paxton to the Texas Senate.
About an hour later, the Senate announced that a trial will take place sometime before August 28 on the impeachment charges which include bribery, abuse of official capacity, conspiracy, retaliation against former employees, and misuse of information.
Moments after the Senate received the articles, the impeachment managers held a press conference, laying out what a trial could potentially look like.
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House Investigating Committee Chair Andrew Murr says it’ll be very similar to a criminal trial in court.
"You will see witnesses called, placed under oath," said Murr. "Rules of evidence are assumed to apply."
It appears Paxton will have the option to testify, or not.
"I am not aware of any requirement that the accused is required to testify," said Murr.
The senators will serve as a jury, and a seven-member committee—five republicans and two democrats—will set the rules for the trial. They must present those rules on June 20.
On whether Paxton’s wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, should recuse herself from the trial, Murr said, "I don't have a comment on that at this time."
The impeachment managers declined to comment Monday on claims that Paxton threatened Republican House members voting for impeachment, but did rebuke Paxton over claims his staffers placed binders with evidence on senators’ desks.
"Dropping a binder on your potential jurors could be considered tampering or attempting to interfere with a lawful process," said Democratic Rep. Ann Johnson, vice chair of the House General Investigating Committee.
All of this unfolded hours after a rally in support of Paxton in his home county. The Collin County GOP organized the protest, which drew about 100 people.
"The majority of Texans voted for him in November, knowing the issues were there," said Debbie Bonenberger, a Paxton supporter.
"I think it’s a political hit job," said Paxton supporter Eric Bonenberger.
"This is about facts and the evidence. It is not about politics," insisted Murr.
When the trial happens, a two-thirds majority will be required to permanently remove Paxton from office.
"It’s a very tough call with regard to what the actual ultimate outcome of the Senate trial will be," said Dr. Eddy Carder, a constitutional law professor at Prairie View A&M University. "It will be a very, very significant turn of events if the Senate does support the House in the impeachment decision."
Ken Paxton continues to deny the allegations against him, calling the impeachment process a "politically-motivated sham."