(The Center Square) – Ahead of the August 5 filing deadline, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s attorneys filed two more motions with the Texas Senate seeking to exclude what they say is inadmissible evidence and dismiss Article V.
This is after they filed motions to quash the articles, to dismiss 19 articles, to bar three Democrats as jurors, and to exclude evidence gathered in violation of the U.S. Constitution, among other motions.
In the first motion, Paxton’s attorneys say that investigators hired by the House General Investigating Committee argued that Natin “Nate” Paul contributed $25,000 to Paxton’s campaign in October 2018 and this is connected to an impeachable offense. Paxton’s attorneys argue a campaign contribution from five years ago has nothing to do with impeachment, is “wholly irrelevant, immaterial, and non-probative to this impeachment inquiry, and therefore any reference to them is barred by the Texas Rules of Evidence.”
They also argue Paul’s contribution is “not within the scope of admissible evidence. To the extent House Managers intend to offer evidence of this or any other campaign contribution, this Court should exclude that evidence. The Court should also prevent any reference to, testimony of, or argument about such evidence at trial.”
“Admission of campaign-donation evidence could create a false impression that money was exchanged for some official act – alleged acts that even the House’s false accusations place two years in the future from the time of the contribution – even though such an exchange never occurred, and even though the House has no evidence that it did,” they argue. “Yet if admitted, this evidence will allow Members of the Court to entertain the Managers’ unsupported theories, essentially letting the House ‘prove’ its allegations based on nothing more than rumors and innuendo. The Texas Rules of Evidence unequivocally bar such abusive trial tactics.”
The second motion requests the Senate dismiss Article V because it doesn’t state an impeachable offense.
Article V, “Disregard of Official Duty-engagement of Cammack,” states “While holding office as attorney general, Warren Kenneth Paxton misused his official powers by violating the laws governing the appointment of prosecuting attorneys pro tem. Specifically, Paxton engaged Brandon Cammack, a licensed attorney, to conduct an investigation into a baseless complaint, during which Cammack issued more than 30 grand jury subpoenas, in an effort to benefit Nate Paul or Paul’s business entities.”
Paxton’s attorneys argue the Texas Supreme Court has “emphatically repudiate[d] the idea that any officer may be arbitrarily impeached.” Only “grave official wrongs” consistent with “the principles of impeachment as . . . established in English and American parliamentary procedure” have occurred “from time to time . . . for perhaps 500 years” to rise to the level of an impeachable offense, the court held.
In 500 years of English and American parliamentary procedure, Paxton’s attorneys argue, “no legislature sitting as a court of impeachment has ever suggested that an elected official’s formation of an employment contract with a subordinate attorney – even if other subordinates disagree with how or why that contract was formed – rises to the level of a ‘grave official wrong.’”
“Article V accuses the Attorney General of the impossible,” they argue, because the House claiming Paxton violated “the laws governing the appointment of prosecuting attorneys pro tem” when “no one – let alone Attorney General Paxton – ever appointed Brandon Cammack an attorney pro tem.”
They also argue the error in Article 5 “is by no means technical. The House had months to draft its charges, and it preferred Article V as written. That Article contains a fatal mistake. It must fall on its own terms.
“Whether the product of a slapdash investigation, a basic misunderstanding of Texas law, or both, Attorney General Paxton is entitled to acquittal as a matter of law on Article V. This Court should accordingly dismiss it.”
House managers have said they will file responses by the August 15 deadline. They and other prosecuting attorneys are barred from commenting according to a July 17 gag order.