The Senate impeachment trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton will go forward, after senators voted down motions to dismiss on the first day.

The trial began promptly, with Lt. Gov Dan Patrick—who serves as the presiding officer for the proceedings—swearing in members individually with the Sam Houston bible. Patrick said the historic bible was used due to the “significant and serious occasion.”

The first order of business was a series of votes on 24 pre-trial motions, including 16 motions to dismiss.

Those efforts, however, were unsuccessful.

The most notable motion would dismiss charges based on the state’s prior term doctrine, which precludes impeachment charges for allegations known to the public before their election. That vote failed on a vote of 22-8, with 10 Republicans siding with Democrats to let the trial continue.

Those Republicans voting to continue the trial include:

Bryan Hughes (Mineola)
Robert Nichols (Jacksonville)
Kelly Hancock (North Richland Hills)
Phil King (Weatherford)
Mayes Middleton (Galveston)
Joan Huffman (Houston)
Brian Birdwell (Granbury)
Pete Flores (Pleasanton)
Drew Springer (Muenster)
Kevin Sparks (Midland)

A motion to exclude evidence collected outside of the law met the same fate, failing 22-8 with the same 10 Republicans joining Democrats.

As the presiding officer, the decision on the remaining eight pretrial motions, which would not dismiss charges, went to Patrick. Patrick denied all but one of those more procedural motions, ruling that Paxton cannot be compelled to testify in the trial. 

Paxton then pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

As the trial begins, each side will have 27 hours total to present or defend their case, including up to 24 hours of witness testimony. 

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens


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