An attorney for suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday the Republican will not testify during his impeachment trial scheduled to start on Sept. 5.
In a statement released late Monday, Tony Buzbee, one of Paxton's attorneys, bashed once again the Texas House's move to impeach Paxton in late May, calling the 20 articles of impeachment against him "meritless."
"That is why Attorney General Paxton will not dignify the illegal House action by testifying," Buzbee said. "We will not bow to their evil, illegal, and unprecedented weaponization of state power in the Senate chamber."
Paxton's decision to not testify is a clear defiance of the impeachment trial rules the Texas Senate adopted last month.
Under a resolution unanimously adopted by that chamber, Paxton is "ordered to appear in person and by counsel at or before 9 a.m. on September 5, 2023, in the City of Austin, State of Texas, at the Chamber of the Texas Senate, to answer the said charges of impeachment."
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's office and the Texas House attorneys did not respond to requests for comment from The Texas Newsroom.
Under the Senate rules, the presiding officer of the trial "has the power to compel the attendance of witnesses ... and to punish for contempt to the same extent as district courts in the State of Texas."
Paxton was impeached on 20 articles in June by the Republican-led Texas House. He is only the third official in the history of the state to be impeached.
Since then, he's been suspended from his duties until the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial.
Most of the articles of impeachment against Paxton are related to his relationship with Nate Paul, an Austin real estate investor who was recently charged with eight felony counts of making false statements to financial institutions.
According to House investigators, Paxton used his office to try to intervene in a federal investigation against Paul, who is a political donor of Paxton’s.
Some articles of impeachment are related to Paxton’s 2015 securities fraud federal indictment, for which he has yet to stand trial.
However, those articles of impeachment could only be voted on by the Senators after they vote on the first 16 articles of impeachment. Senators could also vote to dismiss them.