The former chief of staff in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office testified Monday about the top law enforcement officer’s alleged affair as his historic impeachment trial continues into its second week.
Katherine “Missy” Minter Cary recalled giving Paxton “ethics advice” about the risks of an extramarital affair and warned that the office morale was being affected by his actions.
“The ethics advice in 2018 was that when you try to keep things secret, and you’re a statewide elected official who’s running for office, that they could be both ethically, legally and morally challenging, and that it was beginning to bleed over into the office,” Cary said on the stand, adding that she gave “identical advice” the following year.
Paxton, who is married to state Sen. Angela Paxton (R), pleaded not guilty last week to multiple charges related to allegations that he abused his office to help real estate developer Nate Paul.
According to Cary’s account, Paxton initially admitted to having an affair but did not share the identity of his partner. Cary said she later learned the woman Paxton was having an affair with was Laura Olsen.
Jeff Mateer, Paxton’s former second-in-command, testified last week that news that Paul had given Olsen a job helped explain why Paxton was “engaging in all these activities.”
Cary on Monday said she told Paxton that it “wasn’t my business who he was sleeping with,” but that “when things boiled over into the office and into the state work, that it had become my business and that I was having concerns about how the time and the effort of the travel aides, the security detail and myself was being spent.”
Paxton stormed off after that conversation, according to her testimony.
“These things can open one up to bribery, misuse of office, misuse of state time, things like that,” Cary said of the alleged affair at another point during her time on the witness stand.
Monday marked the fifth day of the impeachment trial, and witness testimony is expected to continue over the next few days. Jury deliberations could start as soon as late Thursday or Friday.