Lawyers for Attorney General Ken Paxton say the 20 articles of impeachment against him are “fatally deficient,” and they are requesting more specificity from the House.
In a Democrat-led vote in May, the Texas House voted to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton on 20 charges of misapplication of public resources, bribery, obstruction of justice, abuse of public trust, and disregard of official duties—preparing the way for a Senate trial on whether he should be removed from office.
In a motion filed on Tuesday, Paxton’s team requested a bill of particulars—a written list of specific clarifications on the charges against him—from the House’s impeachment managers ahead of the Senate’s trial.
“After months of secret investigations into the Attorney General—a process that broke from a century and a half of past Texas practice, and that deprived the Attorney General of any meaningful participation in the investigation against him—the House General Investigating Committee unveiled twenty Articles of Impeachment. But the Articles themselves raised far more questions than they answered,” the motion states. “Without any public inquiry or explanation during the investigation, and without sufficient detail in the Articles here, the charging instrument for the Court of Impeachment, it is both impossible for the public to understand the allegations against their Attorney General and for the Attorney General’s legal team to prepare his defense. “
The motion goes on to say, “There are few names, no dates, and none of the details that Texas law requires in a charging instrument. Instead, the House has broken with Texas history in yet another way; rather than articulate its impeachment allegations clearly and with the constitutionally required level of detail, as every other House has done before, these Articles adopt a ‘kitchen sink’ approach that violates the Texas Constitution. The public, the Attorney General, and the Senate deserve to know what is being alleged in this impeachment trial, and the law requires it.”
Paxton’s lawyers list nearly 100 clarification requests, including dates at which certain charges are alleged to have taken place, which crimes exactly they allege take place, and more.
While a gag order issued by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick currently prevents lawyers involved in the case from speaking publicly on the case, Central Texas attorney Tony McDonald says the motion makes sense in light of the House’s vague charges.
“Texas indictments are often criticized for being vague, but here the House hasn’t even met that low bar with its impeachment document. The charges against Paxton neither track the elements of any criminal offense, nor do they provide detailed allegations of conduct that is alleged generally to have been misconduct,” said McDonald. “Paxton’s lawyers are right to ask for the document to be revised to provide detailed allegations. What the House has provided the Senate as a charging document would never be acceptable in any court.”
As of publishing, House prosecutors had not responded to the request.
The full motion can be viewed below: