Ken Paxton's Senate Trial: Quite the Racket

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick removed all doubt that the process was unfair, and his posturing to present himself as objective, insincere.

Ken Paxton's Senate Trial: Quite the Racket

Today, the Texas Senate aquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton on all articles of impeachment. While many political observers hoped for an objective and fair process, and many acknowledged the appearance of one for the most part, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick removed all doubt that the process was unfair, and his posturing to present himself as objective, insincere.

Indeed, Patrick put on a very impressive performance for the people of Texas. While it is odd that Patrick chose not to take the opportunity to whisk away unscathed in this scheme, it is not unusual for him to do the opposite. Historically, Patrick basks in his notoriety of being in complete control of the Texas Senate, silencing dissent, and punishing anyone who dare stand in his way.

The Paxton Impeachment was an unusual circumstance for Dan Patrick. Many believed, early on, that he genuinely was motivated to preside over a fair and impartial trial for Ken Paxton. When Patrick's handlers took notice of those observations, they sought to remove any possibility of the Lieutenant Governor doing such a thing, and promptly paid him $3,000,000 in June 2023.

Scorecard Confessions diligently reported on the early red flags raised by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick during the trial process, highlighting the following indicators in chronological order:

May 29: Questions Arise About Patrick's Impartiality Immediately After the House Vote

In a report published on May 29, concerns regarding Patrick's impartiality were voiced:

Patrick, like Paxton, has received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the financiers of The Enterprise. These donors have also contributed substantial amounts to candidates directly and through PACs, including the 23 House Members who voted against Paxton's impeachment. Furthermore, the financiers have supported PACs that have made millions of phone calls and sent text messages to Texas citizens, encouraging harassment and intimidation of members of the Texas House and Senate. There are allegations of personal threats made by leaders of these PACs to legislators.

There is a valid suspicion about whether Patrick can truly be fair and impartial during an impeachment trial, as there is a reasonable argument that his own integrity may be compromised.

June 21: Senate Approves Rules for Impeachment Trial

On June 21, the Texas Senate approved rules for the impeachment trial, and the process was far from transparent, as reported by the Texas Tribune:

The Senate approved the rules without public debate Wednesday night, following two days of closed-door deliberations over them. That came after a rule-making committee worked in secret for three weeks, drafting proposed rules without telling the public when and where they were meeting.

“Just comparing this process to other processes [in state government], it hasn’t been transparent,” said Adrian Shelley, executive director of Public Citizen Texas, an Austin-based government watchdog group. “Not even knowing when the committee is meeting is pretty disappointing.”

Even if the process and rules are similar to past impeachment trials or similar legal proceedings, Patrick had promised a high level of transparency.

“Let me just say this: If there is a trial — if there is — there will be total transparency and it will be handled properly,” Patrick said in a radio interview Monday.

Lieutenant Governor Patrick advocated for Angela Paxton to be able to vote on the impeachment of her husband

During the Senate's deliberations on the Senate trial rules, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick vigorously opposed removing Senator Angela Paxton as a juror with voting ability in the outcome of the trial. Scorecard Confessions learned from sources that it was Senator Creighton who pushed back against the Lieutenant Governor's stance. The compromise reached was that Senator Paxton would not be able to vote, but her presence would still be included in the total, maintaining the two-thirds threshold at 21.

In a report published on May 29, Scorecard Confessions raised concerns regarding conflicts of interest related to two key individuals, including the judge and two jurors linked to The Enterprise's influence:

According to the Texas Constitution, a two-thirds majority is required for a conviction in an impeachment trial, which is based on the total number of Senate members, 31 in this case.

However, there are significant concerns that need to be addressed:

  • Angela Paxton, who is alleged to have received a bribe in the form of "tile, not granite" on behalf of her husband, the defendant in the impeachment trial, has a direct conflict of interest.
  • The mistress involved in Ken Paxton's affair, who subsequently became employed by Nate Paul, initially worked for Senator Donna Campbell.

In a traditional court of law, both of these Senators would be disqualified as jurors due to their conflicts of interest.

Currently, two possible scenarios exist regarding their role in Ken Paxton's trial:

  1. They are present but do not vote due to their glaring conflicts of interest.
  2. They vote, compromising the integrity of the jury and raising concerns about jury nullification.

Neither option ensures a fair and impartial trial. Even if both Senators are present but refrain from voting, their mere presence constitutes 2 out of the 31 votes. It is conceivable that both Senators would vote to acquit Paxton, given their conflicts of interest in his favor.

July 17: Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick issues gag order for the entire Texas Legislature

On July 17, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick issued a gag order that applied to the entire Texas Legislature. This order attracted criticism from government watchdog groups, as reported by the Texas Tribune:

Government watchdog groups previously decried the requirement of a gag order, which they said would further mire the impeachment deliberations in secrecy despite Patrick’s vow for “total transparency” in the matter.

Critics had already taken issue with the opaque, behind-closed-doors process by which the trial rules were set last month, as well as rules requiring each side’s witness list and pretrial motions, including requests from Paxton’s team to have articles of impeachment thrown out, to be confidential ahead of the trial.

This development raised concerns about transparency and openness in the impeachment proceedings, particularly given previous promises of transparency made by Lieutenant Governor Patrick.

July 18: Payment to Senate Trial Judge Dan Patrick by The Enterprise revealed

"I can't believe this is real. It's real"

September 13: Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick Permits the Use of Non-Admissible Photos

On September 13, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick admitted photos that would likely never be admissible in a court of law into trial evidence. In particular, he requested that the witness, Drew Wicker, compare two photographs of the Paxton's kitchen. The defense team for Paxton asserted that the second photograph was captured in August 2023. Nevertheless, there was a lack of independent verification or metadata accompanying the photograph to substantiate its date.

Admissibility of Photos Without Metadata in Texas Courts

When it comes to presenting evidence in court, especially in a digital age where photos play a significant role, understanding the rules of evidence is crucial. In Texas, the rules governing evidence admissibility are primarily outlined in the Texas Rules of Evidence.

1. Relevance: The bedrock of evidence admissibility is relevance. Photos, even without metadata, can still be admitted if they hold relevance to the case. While metadata can provide valuable context, its absence does not automatically render a photo irrelevant. The judge evaluates whether the photo has probative value and pertinence to the case's issues.

2. Authentication: Proper authentication is a fundamental requirement for admitting evidence. In Texas, authentication can often be established through the testimony of a witness who can vouch for the photo's accuracy and authenticity, even if it lacks metadata. Other circumstantial evidence may also be used to confirm the photo's legitimacy.

3. Best Evidence Rule: Like many jurisdictions, Texas has a best evidence rule, which generally requires the original document or photo to be presented if available. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as when the original is lost or destroyed.

4. Hearsay: Photos containing statements made by individuals not testifying in court may be subject to hearsay rules. In Texas, hearsay evidence is typically excluded unless it fits within a recognized exception.

5. Chain of Custody: Establishing a proper chain of custody is paramount for evidence admissibility. Parties must demonstrate that the photo has been correctly handled and preserved from its creation or discovery.

6. Expert Testimony: Expert testimony can play a pivotal role in Texas courts when it comes to authenticating a photo, explaining its significance, or providing context, even if metadata is absent. Experts may employ forensic analysis or other techniques to assist in authentication.

7. Discretion of the Court: Judges in Texas, as in most jurisdictions, retain significant discretion regarding the admissibility of evidence. They take into account the rules of evidence, legal precedent, and the specific details of the case when making determinations.

It's worth noting that multiple lawyers who spoke with Scorecard Confessions acknowledged none of these benchmarks were established, and the evidence would've never been permitted as evidence in a criminal or civil court.

September 16: Dan Patrick Echoes The Enterprise's Talking Points

PATRICK: "With virtually no time for 150 members to even study the articles, the speaker and his team rammed through the first impeachment of a statewide official in Texas in over 100 years"

Scorecard Confessions has previously reported on The Enterprise's inconsistency in handling the Bryan Slaton expulsion and Ken Paxton impeachment investigations, which were remarkably similar in process.

In our report dated June 7, we questioned The Enterprise's stance:

As we critically examine the impeachment process and the role of The Enterprise, glaring and unyielding questions emerge: What exactly is their issue with the process? Are they arguing it moved too slow or too fast? The blatant inconsistency becomes strikingly apparent when we juxtapose their approval of Bryan Slaton's swift expulsion, accomplished in a mere 35 days, with their vehement disapproval of the 104-day investigation into Ken Paxton.

The Enterprise's bewildering and contradictory stance not only raises confusion but also casts a long shadow of doubt over their true motives. Can we genuinely believe they are concerned about the efficiency and fairness of the impeachment process? Or are their actions driven by concealed ulterior motives rooted in their financial investments into elected officials?

If The Enterprise is genuinely concerned about the fairness of the impeachment process in the Senate, isn't it peculiar that no one within their axis of allies has been found to raise any of these valid concerns? But alas, their silence speaks volumes.

In our report dated June 13, we further questioned The Enterprise's selective stance:

If they truly operate based on principles, why didn't they raise process issues with the same vigor during the investigation into Bryan Slaton as they did with Ken Paxton? Interestingly, in neither matter has The Enterprise or Texas Scorecard's allies refuted the evidence presented by the House GI committee, which formed the basis for their recommendations. This raises doubts about their selective outrage and suggests that their support for Paxton stems from their own vested interests rather than a genuine concern for principles.

PATRICK: "I feel it's important to set the full record straight on this trial because I want people in the future to have a full picture of what happened and how did we get here."

It's important to note that Patrick's speech was read from a prepared document and largely comprised direct criticisms of the Texas House of Representatives. Additionally, he omitted his involvement in advocating for Angela Paxton's voting eligibility in the Senate's private rule-making meetings, as well as alleged phone calls with Senate jurors last night urging them to vote against Paxton's impeachment.

In light of his previous commitment to "full transparency," Lieutenant Governor Patrick should release the following documents voluntarily, without necessitating public information requests:

  • His prepared alternative remarks, in the event of the Senate convicting Attorney General Paxton, including the metadata for the document.
  • His personal and office phone logs, along with the logs of all his employees, for public inspection in response to multiple allegations of ex parte communications with the jury.

Patrick Gave Away the Ending from the Start

In our June 19 report, Scorecard Confessions highlighted the inadvertent admissions made by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick during a radio interview with Mark Davis:

During a recent appearance on the Mark Davis show, Patrick expressed his belief that the Senate must address the impeachment or else the House will “keep Paxton away from doing his job forever,” implies the Senate will do the opposite.

Patrick's confidence in predicting the Senate's inclination to acquit Paxton, even before the trial process has begun, has raised eyebrows and piqued interest. Such assumptions, made prematurely, leave room for speculation about Patrick's access to insider information or potential underlying motivations that may be influencing his statements.

The implications of Patrick's assertions go beyond mere curiosity, as they raise important questions about the fairness and impartiality of the proceedings. The Senate, functioning as the ultimate jury in this impeachment case, is entrusted with the responsibility of objectively evaluating the evidence and arguments presented. By expressing unwavering certainty about the trial's outcome, Patrick's remarks cast doubt on the integrity of the process.

Senate Trial Meets All RICO Benchmarks, but the Investigator Was Just Acquitted

A RICO case, which stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, is a lawsuit in the United States that focuses on allegations of organized criminal activities within an enterprise. To build a strong RICO case, it's essential to establish specific benchmarks or elements. Let's delve into each element individually to pinpoint potential evidence:

  1. Existence of an Enterprise: To establish a RICO case, there must be evidence of an ongoing criminal enterprise. This enterprise can take various forms, including formal organizations, associations, or groups. It can be legal or illegal and may consist of individuals, corporations, or other entities.
    The existence of an enterprise has been established.

  2. Pattern of Racketeering Activity: The core of a RICO case is the presence of a pattern of racketeering activity. This pattern usually requires at least two acts of racketeering activity within a ten-year period. Racketeering activities can include various federal and state crimes, such as fraud, bribery, extortion, money laundering, and drug trafficking.

    The pattern of potential bribery is evident.

    Dunn and his constellation of groups spent millions helping Paxton as he faced candidates who were arguably more right-wing.

    There are plenty of obvious reasons Republican groups might want a friendly attorney general. But there was also a specific problem facing Dunn’s groups, in 2014, that made it important to have one.

    That problem was the Texas Ethics Commission. The TEC had held that the way one of Dunn’s groups was pressuring lawmakers constituted lobbying. The agency had little power to do anything beyond requiring that Dunn’s groups follow the disclosure rules involved in lobbying—in short, to say who was paying you, and how much, and to report how they spent money influencing lawmakers. The agency ordered Dunn’s most visible lieutenant, Michael Quinn Sullivan (often known by his initials, MQS, and sometimes known to his enemies as “Mucus”), to register as a lobbyist.

    There's also a pattern of potential bribery, Example B:

    Patrick has previously received financial support from the PAC, including $100,000 in donations during his reelection campaign last year. But the latest burst of money is far more than that and comes as all eyes are on his front-and-center role in the impeachment trial.

    Patrick’s $1 million donation from the PAC represented nearly a quarter of his total fundraising for the period. The donation arrived June 27, and the loan was made two days later. Its maturity date is June 30, 2025.

    Stickland declined to comment on the PAC’s latest support for Patrick. But Stickland appeared to make reference to it in a defiant tweet.

    Patterns of potential extortion is evident: Example A, Example B, Example C.

    Patterns of fraud become apparent, especially when considering the implications of potentially fraudulent tweets.

  3. Relationship Between the Enterprise and Racketeering Activity: There must be a connection between the enterprise and the racketeering activity. In other words, the racketeering activity must be conducted through or connected to the enterprise in some way. This can be direct involvement or indirect influence.
    Established here

  4. Participation in the Enterprise: Plaintiffs (those bringing the RICO case) must demonstrate that the defendant(s) were involved in the operation or management of the enterprise. This involvement is often referred to as "participation in the conduct of the enterprise's affairs."
    Established by their own admissions.

  5. Causation: Plaintiffs must show that the defendant's involvement in the enterprise and the pattern of racketeering activity caused them to suffer a concrete injury to their business or property. This injury is a key element of the case and is sometimes referred to as "RICO injury."
    Established. Injury is to all Texans.

  6. Intent: In many RICO cases, it's necessary to establish that the defendant(s) acted with the intent to further the aims of the enterprise through the commission of the underlying racketeering activities. This intent requirement can be crucial in proving the case.
    Established in the Texas Monthly article, The Enterprise sought to shield themselves from investigations by the Texas Ethics Commission, in addition to other agencies.

  7. Civil vs. Criminal RICO: It's important to note that RICO can be pursued in both civil and criminal contexts. In a civil RICO case, plaintiffs seek damages and injunctive relief, while in a criminal RICO case, the government prosecutes individuals or entities for criminal offenses.
    The Enterprise could likely be vulnerable to both.

  8. Prosecution or Civil Suit: Depending on the circumstances, a RICO case can be initiated by the government (criminal RICO) or by private individuals or entities (civil RICO). The benchmarks may vary slightly depending on whether it's a criminal or civil case.
    See above.

You knew it would end this way.

In the aftermath of the Texas Senate's acquittal of Attorney General Ken Paxton, the intricate web of political maneuvering and questionable conduct has been laid bare for all to see. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's peculiar confession that he essentially threw the case, after putting on a façade of impartiality, serves as a stark reminder of the challenges facing justice and transparency in our political system.

Patrick's orchestrated performance during this trial may have been impressive, but it is not out of character for a leader known for silencing dissent and wielding control over the Senate with an iron grip. The Paxton impeachment presented a unique challenge for Patrick, one that initially seemed to compel him towards fairness. However, the influence of powerful interests quickly eroded any hope of a truly impartial trial, as evidenced by the substantial payment he received in June 2023.

Scorecard Confessions diligently reported on the warning signs that emerged throughout this process, each one casting doubt on the fairness and transparency of the impeachment proceedings. From concerns about Patrick's impartiality raised immediately after the House vote to the questionable secrecy surrounding the Senate trial rules, the journey to Paxton's acquittal has been fraught with suspicions of political influence.

The release of a gag order on the entire Texas Legislature, Patrick's advocacy for Senator Angela Paxton's participation in the trial, and his endorsement of non-admissible photos all further clouded the proceedings. Each of these actions raised questions about transparency, fairness, and adherence to legal standards.

Lieutenant Governor Patrick's decision to echo The Enterprise's talking points in his closing remarks only adds to the sense that this impeachment trial was never about a quest for justice but was driven by concealed motives and ulterior interests.

Looking beyond this trial, it becomes evident that the elements of a RICO case are met in the complex interplay of political power and influence that surrounds The Enterprise. From the existence of an enterprise to patterns of potential bribery and extortion, from participation in the enterprise to clear intent, the parallels are striking.

Whether pursued as a civil or criminal case, The Enterprise may find itself vulnerable to the RICO statutes, as it attempts to shield itself from investigations and manipulate the political landscape. The question remains: will the pursuit of justice prevail, or will political machinations continue to obscure the truth?

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