Where is Nate Paul?

Real estate investor named in Texas attorney general impeachment unlikely to appear

Texas AG Ken Paxton’s Impeachment Trial Started Without Nate Paul
A photo illustration of Nate Paul (Getty)

Nate Paul was not in the Texas Senate chambers on Tuesday morning, but the state’s attorney general, lieutenant governor, highest judge and 31 state senators all were. And the real estate investor was on their minds.

Despite being named in six of the impeachment charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and alluded to in several others, Paul was not one of the six witnesses called on the first day of the trial. Paul was not subpoenaed, a source with knowledge told The Real Deal. And the odds are slim that he will appear at all, even though he is at the center of this case.

“Mr. Paxton turned the keys of the office of attorney general over to Nate Paul so Mr. Paul could use the power of the peoples’ law firm to punish and harass his enemies,” said Texas state Rep. Andy Murr, a Republican who is a leader of the House impeachment managers.

Paxton’s team was defiant. In an opening statement, Tony Buzbee, an attorney for Paxton’s defense, said the impeachment was a sham.

“Ken Paxton gave nothing of significance to Nate Paul. Nate Paul received nothing of significance from Ken Paxton. This whole case is a lot of nothing,” Buzbee said. 

Paxton is facing removal and permanent ban from office on charges that he accepted bribes and abused his office to help Paul avoid foreclosures and target his enemies. 

For all the case’s salacious details, the trial started on a somber note.  

“This is a very significant, serious occasion,” said Dan Patrick, the state’s Lieutenant Governor and the presiding officer of the trial. To underscore the gravity, Patrick swore in each senator individually on the Sam Houston bible, typically used to swear in the state’s governors.

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While the prosecution made just a short opening statement, Paxton’s defense pushed back against almost every charge against him. 

Paul is accused of creating an Uber account for Paxton to visit him and his alleged mistress. Buzbee called those claims, which have been backed up by the impeachment managers with Uber records, “manufactured lies.”

Buzbee claimed that Ken and Angela Paxton paid for home renovations that Nate Paul allegedly provided for free. He promised to show mind-numbing amounts of photographs of the couple at Home Depot and Lowe’s sampling countertop options, and he said the Paxtons “had fits” with their insurer while trying to repair water damage to their walls. 

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He then discussed campaign donations. “The boogeyman Nate Paul gave Ken Paxton $25,000. Oh goodness gracious,” Buzbee said. That donation, which was given the year before the FBI raided Paul’s home and office, was minor for a fundraiser like Paxton, Buzbee argued. “That donation ain’t even a blip on the radar screen,” he said. 

Lastly, Buzbee underscored that when the attorney general’s office issued an informal opinion allegedly meant to help Paul avoid foreclosures, it made no impact on the proceedings. 

“No bankruptcies were averted. No foreclosures were stopped. No FBI agents were indicted,” he said. “If that was an intent to bribe, that was the least effective one in the history of the United States.”