Prosecutors Abruptly Rest Case in Texas AG's Impeachment

After alleged mistress shows up, does not testify
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2023 1:39 AM CDT
Prosecutors Abruptly Rest Texas AG's Impeachment Trial
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, center, strikes his gavel as he talks with defense and prosecution attorneys during the impeachment trial for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Austin, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The prosecution in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial rested its case Wednesday in what media outlets are painting as a surprise move that was preceded by another surprise, the appearance—but failure to testify—of the AG's alleged mistress, a central figure in the case. Paxton is accused of misusing his authority to help one of his donors, a real estate developer who was under FBI investigation—and who had hired the woman, Laura Olson, in what the articles of impeachment against Paxton refer to as essentially a bribe. (Much more on the ins and outs of the case against Paxton here.)

The AP explains that Olson "made a sudden appearance" at the trial Wednesday and was called to testify, but that her testimony was then delayed without explanation for hours before Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is acting as the judge in the trial, said that both sides had agreed Olson would actually not testify. "She is present but has been deemed unavailable to testify" was all the explanation he gave. CBS News explains that prior to his announcement, there had been an issue with the timing of her being called to the stand (a witness is required to receive 24 hours notice) but that issue appeared to have been resolved. The trial adjourned shortly after prosecutors announced they would rest their case; it is scheduled to resume Thursday.

Next up, the defense can call its witnesses; when it rests its case, there will be one hour allotted per side for closing arguments. The case will then go to state Senators, who act as the jury, to deliberate. Former President Trump weighed in on the trial Thursday on Truth Social, the Daily Beast reports. "Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was easily re-elected last November, but now establishment RINOS are trying to undo that Election with a shameful impeachment of him," he wrote, calling it "a SAD day in the Great State of Texas!" Paxton says he will sit down with Tucker Carlson next week to discuss "the last two weeks in Texas politics." (Read more Ken Paxton stories.)

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