AUSTIN (CBSNewsTexas.com) - Senators voted to acquit Paxton on all articles of impeachment, which means the suspended attorney general will be returned to office.
Senators voted to drop the other four impeachment articles against Paxton.
After the final vote, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called the impeachment trial a waste of time and resources.
"It never should have happened," Patrick said.
Patrick also called for an audit of the impeachment investigation and said Rep. Smithee's speech blasting the impeachment was "brave."
"This is not a partisan issue," Patrick said. "No future official is subject to the impeachment process we saw."
Over the course of eight days, senators, who acted as the jury in this trial, heard from more than a dozen witnesses - including whistleblowers, Paxton's former personal assistant and chief of staff.
During closing arguments, Paxton's defense called the impeachment a sham by Republicans in Texas who don't like the attorney general."This is a political witch hunt," Paxton lawyer Tony Buzbee said. "I would suggest to you that this trial has displayed for the country to see, a partisan fight within the Republican party … The Bush era in Texas ends today. We thought it had ended in the primary when Ken Paxton beat George P. Bush."
But during closing arguments for their side, Rep. Jeff Leach, a Plano Republican who's one of the House impeachment managers, pushed back on that.
"In voting to impeach General Ken Paxton, my dear friend, a political mentor, brother in Christ and a once-trusted advisor, this has been not just a hard vote," Leach said. "This has been one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do in my life."
The Texas House of Representatives voted to adopt 20 articles of impeachment against the attorney general over Memorial Day weekend. Those articles included charges of constitutional bribery, disregard of official duty and misapplication of
Paxton's relationship with real estate developer and campaign donor Nate Paul were at the heart of the allegations made against him. House impeachment managers accused him of using the power of the Office of the Texas Attorney General to benefit Paul. In exchange, the House alleged, Paul helped Paxton cover up and accommodate an affair, and helped pay for renovations to Paxton's Austin home.
This impeachment trial only focused on 16 articles of impeachment; Four were held in abeyance.
Paxton also remains under federal investigation and faces a long-delayed securities fraud trial. His next hearing in that case is Oct. 6. Learn more about the history of that case in the timeline below:
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