NORTH TEXAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) - One of the Republican state senators who voted to convict Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on many of the impeachment articles said he knows he did the right thing.
"I had an incredible peace. I was comfortable I was doing the right thing."
Hancock spoke to CBS News Texas five days after a majority of Republican senators voted to acquit Paxton. He said before the trial, there was a lot of pressure on him to back Paxton.
"Clearly there was an effort to impact my position and I just had to block all that out and do what I knew was right."
Hancock, of North Richland Hills, said the evidence and testimony from Paxton's top former deputies, all conservatives he hired for his office, proved to be overwhelming.
He said he couldn't justify reasonable doubt.
"I didn't want to send a message to my own constituents that I thought he was innocent. I've seen a write up recently where they equated acquittal with innocence. It's not innocence."
Hancock said following the verdicts, he received a flood of supportive emails, texts, and phone calls, but there was one in particular that stands out to him. "My daughter texted me on my way home. 'Dad, we're proud of you. You have no idea how many times your grandchildren will hear this story.' That's when I knew doing the right thing, doing what I believed in, where the evidence took me, that's all that matters."
Hancock confirmed to CBS News Texas that Republicans came within one vote of reaching the 21 vote threshold to join all Democrats to convict Paxton. But ultimately a majority of Republicans changed their minds."We were very close."
When asked why he thought it got so close and then Republicans backed away, Hancock said, "That's a question for my colleagues, not me."
He said he saw that happening during deliberations. "Sure, yeah, I saw it."
Paxton didn't testify in his own defense and didn't attend most of the trial, a fact not lost on Hancock.
"I think he was given more than ample opportunity to tell his side of the story in spite of what he says publicly and on the radio."
Asked if that bothered him, Hancock said, "I think you take all things into evidence. The action in not being there was evidence I took into account."
He emphasized why he believed his decision was so important.
"What I want to do is properly represent my constituents with integrity, with ethics, and with character, things we don't talk about much in politics anymore. But to me, they really matter. I don't want to serve if I can't do it, and I think my constituents, they matter."
Paxton remains under federal investigation and still faces a trial on state securities fraud charges.
He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
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