Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, spent closing arguments for the prosecution walking senators through each impeachment article, providing highlights of the evidence and testimony presented over the past two weeks.
The House impeachment managers played audio clips of various witness testimony and recommended specific exhibits for senators to review during deliberations.
He highlighted Paxton’s tendency to communicate using “extra phones” and encrypted messaging, especially when communicating with an outside lawyer Paxton hired to investigate his friend Nate Paul’s claims against federal law enforcement.
Murr walked senators through how Paxton’s top deputies, who oversaw different agency departments, connected the dots of Paxton’s actions and concluded it crossed into illegal behavior they could not ignore.
“The puzzle pieces came together that day, and they realized they had a massive problem,” Murr said, rejecting the defense argument that whistleblowers should have gone directly to Paxton to raise their concerns.
“This line of questioning ignored months and months of warnings, conversation and pleas imploring that Mr. Paxton stop asking his office to do work for Nate Paul,” he said.
Murr also homed in on a piece of evidence not widely discussed during the trial: a secret Uber account used by Paxton that was linked to a credit card in Nate Paul’s name. The document shows multiple Uber trips between July and October 2020 to Laura Olson’s home and Nate Paul’s businesses. Murr noted the trips “abruptly” ended a day after Paxton’s deputies reported him to the FBI.
Leaning heavily on Paxton’s defense repeated quip that “there are no coincidences in Austin,” Murr tasked senators to consider if all of the evidence presented could be excused as a coincidence.
He told senators this vote is “probably the only vote that anyone will ever talk about,” but implored them to think about “what this public service means.”
Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, ended closing arguments making a plea to Republican lawmakers that he understood the weight of this vote by sharing how close he and Paxton were, calling him a “once trusted adviser.” But he said Paxton’s behavior over the past few years had changed his mind.
“I believe it is right, as painful as it might be, to sustain articles of impeachments,” Leach said.
– Kate McGee