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Local News

Abbott appoints John Scott as interim attorney general

todayJune 2, 2023

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On Wednesday, former Texas Secretary of State John Scott was appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott as interim attorney general. The announcement was made following the suspension and impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last week. On Saturday, the Texas House voted 121-23 to impeach Paxton. According to a letter from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Paxton is suspended with no pay.

On Saturday, the vote approved 20 articles of impeachment that the House General Investigating Committee laid out after a two-month investigation. The investigation began after Paxton asked to use state funds to settle a $3.3 million whistleblower lawsuit filed by four former employees who accused him of wrongdoing. The letter from the Texas Comptroller’s office says, “Per the Texas Constitution Article 15, Section 5, ‘all officers against whom articles of impeachment may be preferred shall be suspended from the exercise of the duties of their office, during the pendency of such impeachment.”

The articles of impeachment were read aloud on the House floor by Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction), chairman of the General Investigating Committee, and included various kinds of misconduct against Paxton including abuse of office.

It was announced Thursday that prominent lawyers Dick DeGuerin and Rusty Hardin will serve as lead prosecutors for the Texas House in the Senate impeachment trial of Paxton. Paxton’s trial has not yet been scheduled but will occur before August 28, according to a resolution recently adopted by the Senate.

The House needed just a simple majority of its 149 members to impeach Paxton, but the threshold for conviction in the Senate trial is higher, requiring a two-thirds majority of its 31 members. If that happens, Paxton would be permanently barred from holding office in Texas. Anything less means Paxton is acquitted and can resume his third term as attorney general.

Paxton’s suspension from his role gives Abbott the opportunity to appoint someone as the interim attorney general. Scott most recently served as the secretary of state, but resigned in 2022. Scott is an attorney from Fort Worth with over 34 years of experience.


Written by: Michelle Layton

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