AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Eligible Texas senators are poised to vote on 16 articles of impeachment Saturday morning in the historic trial against suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, presider of the trial, announced in a press release that senators — who act as jurors — will vote on the articles a little after 11:10 a.m. Saturday.
The 30 senators began deliberation Friday a little past noon, after closing arguments in the trial finished a little before noon Friday, leaving senators to consider whether they would convict Paxton on 16 different impeachment articles. The suspended attorney general’s wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton of McKinney, is barred from voting and was not allowed to participate in deliberation, per the Senate rules.
Jurors will vote separately on each article of impeachment. If two-thirds of the senators vote yes on an article, it will be a conviction and result in Paxton being removed as attorney general. If there are not enough senators voting yes on an article, Paxton will be acquitted.
If Paxton is convicted on any article of impeachment, it could trigger a second vote to permanently ban him from holding public office. Outlined in the rules for this impeachment trial, each senator will vote on whether Paxton’s offenses should “extend to disqualification from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under this state.”
Lawyers strike contrast in closing arguments
“When you leave here, you’re not to talk to anyone about this trial,” Patrick said Friday. “You’re not to talk or watch anything on television about this trial.”
In closing arguments, Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, said the trial exposed the wrongdoings of Paxton.
“Over the last two weeks, the Senate has faithfully carried out its constitutional duty to listen to the evidence,” Murr said. “We discovered unprecedented abuse in the Texas Attorney General’s Office.”
In opposition, Dan Cogdell — Paxton’s longtime attorney — claimed there needs to be “reasonable doubt” that Paxton did what the articles accused him of doing.
“I suspect he did some things that you probably didn’t like,” emphasized Cogdell. “But that’s not the issue. The issue is whether the proof is there that is so convincing that it convinces you beyond a reasonable doubt the same standard of proof that’s in a death penalty case.”
This is a developing story, check back for updates. You can watch the verdict delivery on KXAN and KXAN.com in this story.