Buzbee: “Will we even get a fair trial?”



(The Center Square) – On the first day of the impeachment trial, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lead attorney, Tony Buzbee, asked if Paxton would receive a fair trial.

He did so after the majority of Republicans voted with Democrats earlier that morning to reject motions filed by Buzbee asking the Senate to throw out the articles of impeachment. The motions were rejected by votes of 24-6 and 22-8.

Buzbee said, “The prosecution in the press, and I’m sure, here, will tell a whopping story. It’s a tale full of sound and fury. It signifies nothing. You may wonder why I say that because, when we are done, I believe that, no matter your party affiliation and no matter where you stand now, you will conclude what I have concluded that there is nothing to this.

“Cases are supposed to be decided only upon the evidence. But I do wonder. Are we really going to get a fair trial here? Have you already decided based on what is politically expedient or what is best for you personally?

“Is it even possible to get a fair hearing? Especially after this case has been tried in the press. Ken Paxton has been convicted in the press based on ignorance, innuendo, and outright lies.”

Buzbee referred to news headlines stating, “This is the impeachment of a lifetime,” and asked, “But is it?” He suggested that “what happened here will become commonplace” and “have consequences no matter how it turns out.”

He also said the gag order Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the rules the Senate created put Paxton’s “team at a distinct disadvantage.” The gag order “prevented us from rebutting the false narrative created by a frenzied press,” he said, but it “didn’t stop those media members with agendas or media outlets aligning with House Managers,” which he said “were calling for Ken Paxton’s head.”

Pointing to some media outlets claiming Paxton used burner phones and secret email addresses. Buzbee said, “there are no burner phones … there’s no secret email address,” but because of the gag order, “we couldn’t respond.”

Other claims made about Paxton taking Uber rides to nightclubs in Chicago and Las Vegas “are manufactured lies, but we couldn’t respond,” he added.

Buzbee also said the impeachment proceedings were politically motivated, pointing to AG Paxton calling on House Speaker Dade Phelan to resign after he appeared to be intoxicated while presiding over House business. Not long after, the House General Investigative Committee announced it was announcing the findings of an investigation no one knew about and then moved to have the House impeach Paxton within 48 hours.

Paxton lead attorney Tony Buzbee @BuzbeeLawFirm says impeachment was politically motivated by drunk @DadePhelan He’s referring to this:— Bethany Blankley (@BethanyBlankley) September 5, 2023

The chair of the GIC, Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, gave opening remarks for the prosecution on Tuesday. He said the impeachment trial “was needed to protect Texans from a public office holder who abused the power of his office by putting self-interest above that of the people of Texas.”

He also referred to the GIC’s investigation, which he oversaw, and said the allegations in the 20 articles of impeachment “reveal that the state’s top lawyer engaged in conduct designed to advance his economic interests and legal positions of a friend and donor of innocent Texans.”

The articles of impeachment accuse Paxton of being unfit for office, bribery, abuse of public trust and other allegations. Four articles of the 20 were held in abeyance.

Murr also said that Paxton “has violated his oath and has shown he does not respect the law. The witnesses and the evidence will show … and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he should be removed from office and prevented from ever holding a position of trust in the state of Texas again.”

Buzbee said he wanted to put the proceedings in context, stating, “almost 30 million people live in the state of Texas.” Voters reelected Paxton to a third term “despite the same baseless allegations that are being made here. But because of what this House has done, only 30 people out of almost 30 million will decide whether Ken Paxton is allowed to serve in the office he was voted into.

“That’s not how it’s supposed to work. That’s not democratic. What could be less democratic than 30 people deciding who serves as the attorney general of Texas instead of the 4.2 million people who voted to put him there?”

Opening remarks from the first day of the impeachment trial can be viewed here.

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