Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton won't have to testify at his impeachment trial

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AUSTIN, Texas — Attorney General Ken Paxton pleaded not guilty to 20 articles of impeachment alleging corruption, abuse of public trust, misuse of public funds and more as the Texas Senate began a historic impeachment trial Tuesday.

Paxton, a Republican firebrand, was impeached in May by an overwhelming vote in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives over his involvement with real estate developer and donor Nate Paul. Now, the state Senate — convened as a high court of impeachment — will determine whether or not to remove him from office.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is presiding over the proceedings, swore in the senators as jurors Tuesday morning, while 200 spectators — including members of the public and the media — watched from the Senate gallery above, before he turned to pretrial motions.

Paxton’s attorneys had filed more than a dozen motions to dismiss the articles of impeachment or exclude evidence from being considered, and all of them failed Tuesday morning when as many as a dozen Republican senators joined with the Democratic senators to vote against them.