(The Center Square) – Drew Wicker, former personal assistant to and close friend of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, testified that he had no evidence of and did not witness Paxton being bribed by Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, contradicting the House managers’ allegations in Article 10 of the impeachment charges.

Paxton is standing trial in the state Senate after the House approved 20 articles of impeachment against him on charges ranging from bribery, abuse of public trust, being unfit for office, among others.

Article 10 alleges Paxton received a bribe from Paul to renovate his Austin home. To date, no witness and no House attorney has provided physical evidence to support this allegation. Instead, receipts, wire transfers and insurance claims entered into evidence by Paxton’s lead attorney, Tony Buzbee, and affirmed by Wicker, indicate the opposite.

“You’re not accusing Paxton of bribery are you?” Buzbee asked Wicker.

“I am not,” he replied.

“Let’s be clear, the guy who has spent more time with General Paxton than anyone else during the timeframe that we are here to talk about is absolutely not accusing General Paxton of doing anything wrong at all, are you?” Buzbee asked.

“I am not accusing anybody of anything, no” Wicker replied.

“One thing you do know is that you were never in the presence of General Paxton when he and Nate Paul made any kind of an agreement, isn’t that right?” Buzbee asked. “You have no evidence, no knowledge, that Nate Paul did anything for General Paxton other than buy a lunch isn’t that true?”

“That is correct,” Wicker said.

Former OAG staffers alleged the bribery charge and Paxton’s home renovations stem from a comment Wicker made. Buzbee said, “The whole allegation about Paxton’s home renovation came from you, do you know anything about who paid for General Paxton’s home renovations?”

“Not directly, no,” he replied.

“Did the House Managers show you bills, receipts, payments related to Paxton’s home renovations? Did you ever go with the Paxtons when they went to Home Depot, Lowes” to price costs of materials, Buzbee asked Wicker, to which he replied, “no.”

Buzbee showed photos of Paxton’s home as well as a USSA insurance company claim and receipts that Paxton paid for his own home renovation.

“How is Nate Paul paying for repairs when USAA is paying for it?” he asked.

“General Paxton told me he was paying for his own repairs as well as the insurance,” Wicker said.

Buzbee also provided comparison pictures of the kitchen from July 2020 and August 2023. Wicker reviewed them and agreed with Buzbee’s questions that “the countertops, the cabinets have not been altered in any way.” One allegation made against Paxton is that Paul renovated his kitchen to have granite countertops. The before and after pictures show the countertops are tile.

Buzbee also went through a series of financial documents, including one showing a wire transfer of $121,000 from Paxton's account to Cupertino Builders, indicating that Paxton paid for the renovations.

“Accusing someone of bribery for accepting granite countertops and cabinetry is a very serious allegation, isn’t it?” Buzbee asked.

“I would agree,” Wicker replied.

“You understand that General Paxton has no obligation to prove anything. He’s being accused. He doesn’t have to prove anything, the prosecution does,” Buzbee said, to which Wicker agreed. Buzbee added that the defense disproved the House managers' allegations.

“It shouldn’t be that a family member, a friend has to prove his innocence, should it?” Buzbee asked.

“My understanding is … they are supposed to provide evidence to support their charges,” Wicker said of the House managers. “The answer to your question is, no, you’re innocent until proven guilty.”

Tony Buzbee asked @KenPaxtonTX's former aide, Drew Wicker, “You’re not accusing Paxton of bribery are you?” He replied, “I am not."“You understand that General Paxton has no obligation to prove anything. He’s being accused. He doesn’t have to prove anything, the prosecution… pic.twitter.com/yMqlMuP7M0— Bethany Blankley (@BethanyBlankley) September 14, 2023

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