Suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will not testify in his impeachment trial, according to his attorney, who called the proceeding a “sham” that would “encourage future kangaroo courts.”
“That is why Attorney General Paxton will not dignify the illegal House action by testifying,” attorney Tony Buzbee said in a statement late Monday. “We will not bow to their evil, illegal, and unprecedented weaponization of state power in the Senate chamber.”
Paxton was impeached by the Texas House of Representatives in May for alleged misconduct, including allegations that he used his office to favor the interests of a prominent donor. He has denied the allegations. Under the Texas Constitution, Paxton is suspended from office while the matter is pending but would be reinstated if acquitted by the Senate.
Gov. Greg Abbott has since appointed former Texas Secretary of State John Scott as a temporary replacement, while Paxton awaits his September 5 impeachment trial.
During the Senate impeachment trial, the lieutenant governor will function as the judge and the senators will serve as jurors. A two-thirds vote of those present would be required to convict.
Paxton’s wife, Dallas-area Republican state Sen. Angela Paxton previously said she would not recuse herself from voting in her husband’s impeachment trial. But she will no longer be allowed to vote in the upcoming proceedings due to new rules the state Senate approved last month.
Paxton is a conservative firebrand who is closely aligned with former President Donald Trump. As Texas’ top prosecutor, he has led legal battles against former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and more. He challenged the 2020 election’s results in federal court, and in recent months has targeted Texas hospitals for providing transition-related care for transgender minors.
CNN previously reported that he is also facing an FBI investigation for abuse of office and that Justice Department prosecutors in Washington, DC, took over a corruption investigation into Paxton. He is also under indictment for securities fraud in a separate, unrelated case. He has denied all charges and allegations.
CNN’s Sydney Kashiwagi contributed to this report.