Texas AG Ken Paxton’s Affair Explains Illegal Acts, Former Aide Testifies

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — An extramarital affair Texas Legal professional Basic Ken Paxton had with a donor’s worker helped join the dots about why the Republican was utilizing his energy in ways in which at the moment are on the middle of his impeachment trial on accusations of corruption, a former high aide testified Wednesday.

“It answered that ‘why’ query,” mentioned Jeff Mateer, who was Paxton’s second-in-command on the Texas lawyer normal’s workplace.

The account by Mateer, who went on to report Paxton to the FBI in 2020 over allegations of abuse of workplace, rapidly injected an affair that Paxton has acknowledged to workers into the historic impeachment trial — the gravest menace to Paxton’s political profession after years of felony costs and alleged scandal.

On the middle of the case are accusations that Texas’ high lawyer wrongfully used his energy to assist Austin actual property developer Nate Paul, one in all his political supporters who was underneath FBI investigation on the time and was indicted this summer time on costs of creating false statements to banks.

A woman attends the impeachment trial for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from the gallery in the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol. Tickets are required to enter the chamber, but attendance has been light.
A lady attends the impeachment trial for Texas Legal professional Basic Ken Paxton from the gallery within the Senate Chamber on the Texas Capitol. Tickets are required to enter the chamber, however attendance has been gentle.

Eric Homosexual by way of Related Press

Throughout hours of often tense cross-examination, Paxton lawyer Tony Buzbee didn’t delve into the affair, however waived off Paul’s $25,000 marketing campaign contribution as an unremarkable donation in Texas politics and prompt Mateer and different deputies needed to grab energy.

“You had been staging a coup, weren’t you?” mentioned Buzbee, a high-profile Houston lawyer whose previous purchasers have included former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“Completely not,” Mateer replied.

Paxton, who just isn’t required to attend the proceedings within the Texas Senate, was once more absent when Mateer took the stand as the primary key witness in a trial that might final a number of weeks. Paxton’s spouse, state Sen. Angela Paxton, just isn’t allowed to vote within the trial and watched from her desk whereas Mateer testified.

Greater than 100 individuals have been recognized as potential witnesses for the trial, based on an inventory obtained by The Related Press. They embody the lady with whom Paxton had the affair, however it’s unclear whether or not she or others on the record will testify.

By beginning with Mateer, Republican impeachment managers opened their case with one of many closest members of Paxton’s former interior circle. However additionally they put forth a primary witness with agency conservative credentials earlier than a jury of largely Republican senators.

Mateer, a Christian conservative lawyer, was as soon as nominated by former President Donald Trump for a federal judgeship. Paxton has argued that the impeachment is politically motivated and pushed by members of the GOP who’re “RINOs” — that means “Republicans in title solely.”

The Republican-led Home voted 121-23 to question Paxton in Could, with the 20 articles of impeachment together with abuse of public belief, unfitness for workplace and bribery. The vote instantly suspended Paxton and made him solely the third sitting official in Texas’ almost 200-year historical past to be impeached.

A two-thirds majority — or 21 senators — is required for conviction, that means that if all 12 Democrats vote in opposition to Paxton, not less than 9 Republicans must be part of them.

In accordance with Mateer, he and different senior workers underneath Paxton had grown more and more involved as their boss started taking what gave the impression to be a private curiosity in Paul’s claims that he had been unjustly focused by the FBI. He mentioned they grew to become notably troubled when Paxton employed an inexperienced exterior lawyer to look into Paul’s accusations that appeared baseless.

Mateer mentioned he struggled to know why Paxton was serving to Paul, however that upon studying in regards to the continued affair, the scenario grew to become clearer in his thoughts. He mentioned he and different workers members, together with seven different whistleblowers who additionally went to the FBI, tried to assist Paxton however to no avail.

“We couldn’t defend him as a result of he didn’t need to be protected,” Mateer mentioned.

Witness Jeff Mateer responds to cross examination during the impeachment trial for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Witness Jeff Mateer responds to cross examination through the impeachment trial for Texas Legal professional Basic Ken Paxton.

Eric Homosexual by way of Related Press

How a lot Paxton will participate in Texas’ first impeachment trial in almost a half century is up within the air. Paxton left the proceedings early and can’t be compelled to testify.

“I need to thanks all on your prayers and help. I’ll by no means again down for defending freedom,” Paxton posted Tuesday on X, previously often known as Twitter.

On Tuesday, dozens of Paxton supporters got here to look at the beginning of the proceedings, a few of whom traveled a whole bunch of miles. However on Wednesday, many rows within the Senate gallery had been naked because the trial resumed.

For years, many Texas Republicans have resisted criticizing or going through head-on the litany of authorized troubles surrounding Paxton, who has remained common among the many exhausting proper by aligning himself carefully to Trump and dashing his workplace into lawsuits which have halted priorities of the Biden administration.

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