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House rests case in Paxton impeachment trial after Hardin said he 'messed up'

Houston attorney Rusty Hardin said the prosecution rested, but he did so before the defense got a chance to cross-examine the witness who was on the stand.

AUSTIN, Texas — There were more twists and turns in the Ken Paxton impeachment trial on Wednesday. That included the House resting its case, something attorney Rusty Hardin said he did on accident.

Hardin, who is prosecuting the case for the House, rested the case after questioning witness Blake Brickman. He did so before giving the defense a chance to cross-examine Brickman, something Hardin said he did by mistake.

“He just rested without a cross-exam,” Buzbee said on the Senate floor.

“I messed up and shouldn’t have rested until he finished his cross,” Hardin said.

Defense attorney Tony Buzbee then made a motion to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. It was a motion for a directed verdict, which could have effectively dismissed the whole case.  The prosecution also filed their own motion.

"They're basically challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, saying that there's not enough evidence here to convict," KHOU 11 political analyst Brandon Rottinghaus said. "So they ought to throw this out immediately." 

Senators -- who are acting as jurors in this case -- were then dismissed from the chambers to vote on the motion. They were gone for a period of time, but at a little before 6:30 p.m., they began filing back in and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is presiding over the trial, said that both parties withdrew their motions and that the defense would call its first witness.

A short time later, Patrick announced that they were adjourned for the day.  The defense picks up the case Thursday at 9 a.m.

Full analysis from Rottinghaus

Paxton's alleged mistress won't testify for House

Earlier in the day was another twist. Paxton's alleged mistress, Laura Olson, was called to the stand to testify in the morning, but Patrick said that there wasn't enough notice and said she wasn't able to until 3:53 p.m.  Then later that afternoon, Patrick announced her testimony wouldn't happen at all, saying she was 'present but deemed unavailable to testify.' 


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