Rules have finally been set in the Texas Senate’s impeachment trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton.
After 36 hours of deliberation this week, the Senate announced Wednesday evening it had come to an agreement on a set of rules for how the impeachment process will be conducted, with a trial start date of September 5, 2023, at 9 a.m.
The trial is expected to last around two weeks, with live testimony allowed. Senators must believe Paxton is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to vote to remove him from office.
Attorney General Paxton will also be afforded the opportunity to file a motion to dismiss, meaning the charges could potentially be thrown out before the trial begins.
Senators are treated like jurors and, as such, will be under a gag order that prevents them from talking about their thoughts on the impeachment until after the Senate’s deliberations.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will oversee the proceedings or appoint a senator who is not up for election in 2024 to do so.
“After two days of thoughtful deliberation, the Texas Senate has adopted rules for the impeachment trial of Attorney General Paxton,” said Patrick. “The Senate will perform its duty per the Texas Constitution.”
Paxton was impeached by the Texas House last month on 20 disputed charges of misapplication of public resources, bribery, obstruction of justice, abuse of public trust, and disregard of official duties.
Four of those charges will be held by the Senate “in abeyance,” meaning they likely will be thrown out and will not be part of the trial.
The Republican Party of Texas, meanwhile, has condemned the impeachment, noting that Paxton was given no opportunity to respond to the charges and criticizing the rushed nature of the impeachment.
Until the conclusion of the trial, Paxton remains temporarily suspended from office.