The High Plains Grifter

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton waves after speaking during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on July 11, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

If you’ve ever spent much time in court, then you know that “courtroom drama” is a genre in the entertainment world but something like an oxymoron in the real one—and the impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was no different. Despite all the bad-juju Texas weirdness and inherent drama involved—Paxton’s prim-faced and humiliated wife is one of the senators hearing, but in her case prohibited from voting on, the impeachment articles spurred by Paxton’s cringe-inducing extramarital shenanigans—the proceedings got off to a predictable and dead-boring start, with Paxton’s team introducing a raft of hopeless pretrial motions in an effort to have articles dismissed or evidence suppressed. A majority of the lawmakers in Texas’ Republican-dominated state Senate voted against Paxton’s weasel-out motions, but the typical handful of diehards, crazies, and goons who take their marching orders from talk radio indulged the disgraced, impeached, indicted (on federal securities-fraud charges) miscreant who, incredibly enough, happens to be the top law-enforcement officer in second-most-populous state in the country.

The plea responses from Paxton’s lawyer were histrionic:

“Attorney General Ken Paxton is innocent and therefore pleads not guilty!”

“Those allegations are all untrue, therefore Ken Paxton pleads not guilty!”

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