AUSTIN (Nexstar) — More than 100 witnesses in the impeachment trial for suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton must appear in-person to the Texas Senate at the start of the trial next week.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — the presiding officer of the trial as Senate president — signed an order on Tuesday compelling “each person appearing as a witness in the trial of impeachment” to appear outside the front of the Senate chamber on Sept. 5, the first day of Paxton’s trial.
Attorneys presenting the case on behalf of the House impeachment managers plan to call Paxton himself to the witness stand, according to a Dallas Morning News report after obtaining copies of witness lists. Nexstar has not independently confirmed the potential witnesses.
Paxton’s lawyers have said he will not testify, although the managers argue if subpoenaed as a witness, they can compel him to take the witness stand even if Paxton’s refuses to answer questions under his constitutional rights.
Following Paxton, Nate Paul — the Austin real estate investor central to the articles of impeachment — tops the managers’ list of potential witnesses. Laura Olson — the woman Paxton is accused of having an extramarital affair with — is also on the House lawyers’ list. Two senators are on team Paxton’s list including his wife — Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney — and Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola. Both parties plan to call former top Office of Attorney General aides, who blew the whistle on Paxton, alleging he misused his office to help a campaign donor; their allegations prompted the impeachement investigation and proceedings against Paxton. All of the potential witnesses are according to the Dallas Morning News report.
At the end of May, the Texas House voted overwhelmingly to impeach Paxton on allegations ranging from bribery to abuse of office. After getting impeached, Paxton was suspended from office without pay pending the trial’s outcome in the Senate.
Senators will act as a jury, voting individually on each article of impeachment. If they convict him on at least one of the 20 articles, Paxton will be removed from office. The court of impeachment may also decide whether to bar him from holding future office.
The Republican attorney general has denied all wrongdoing.