Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has picked a longtime aide to serve as the state's second acting attorney general following Republican Ken Paxton’s historic impeachment on allegations of misconduct and crimes, the governor’s office announced Monday.
Angela Colmenero will step in as the state’s top lawyer on an interim basis starting Friday while Paxton awaits a trial in the state Senate that could result in his permanent removal, the office said. The trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 5.
Colmenero, a lawyer and Abbott’s deputy chief of staff, will take over the role from John Scott, a former Texas secretary of state who the governor named as a “short-term interim” following Paxton's impeachment in May by the Republican-led House of Representatives. In a statement, Abbott touted Colmenero's “experience in state government and expertise in litigation.” Colmenero previously worked in the state attorney general’s office for nearly a decade.
Paxton is temporarily suspended from office pending the outcome of his trial on 20 articles of impeachment that include charges of bribery and abuse of office. Separately, he is under FBI investigation over accusations that he used his power to help a donor. The donor was indicted in a federal court in Austin last month on charges of making false statements to banks.
Paxton's defense team has said he will not testify in his impeachment trial. He is also still awaiting trial on felony securities fraud charges from 2015. He has pleaded not guilty and has never been given a deposition in the case’s eight-year history, impeachment managers said.
Abbott thanked Scott and said the Monday announcement “follows” his departure. A spokesperson for the governor did not immediately answer questions about when Scott left. Scott did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment.