Here are some of the legal news stories making headlines this week:

There are a number of reported developments in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of government documents at Mar-a-Lago.

  • The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Smith was nearing the end of his investigation. Prosecutors have conducted interviews with nearly every employee at Mar-a-Lago, from Trump political aides to resort staff, including restaurant servers and housekeepers. 
  • CNN reported that prosecutors obtained a 2021 audio recording in which Trump acknowledges that he retained a classified document after he left office. This would undercut Trump’s claims that he declassified the documents.
  • Smith is also investigating whether Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation. The Washington Post reported that Trump employees moved boxes of paper at Mar-a-Lago the day before FBI agents were scheduled to visit the resort to retrieve documents marked classified. The employees also reportedly conducted a “dress rehearsal” to prepare for moving sensitive materials before Trump received the subpoena.

The Texas House of Representatives impeached Ken Paxton, the state’s Republican attorney general.

  • The articles of impeachment against Paxton were approved by a vote of 121-23, with nearly all Democrats and a majority of Republicans voting to impeach and temporarily remove Paxton from office. The House accused Paxton of, among other things, taking bribes, making false statements, obstructing justice in a securities fraud criminal case, and abusing the public trust. Many of the charges relate to accusations that Paxton used his office to benefit a Texas real estate investor, who is a friend and political donor. In 2020, former aides accused Paxton of bribery and other crimes — they were fired soon after, and Paxton settled a lawsuit for $3.3 million.
  • Paxton has denounced the proceedings as an “illegal impeachment scheme,” and he called on his supporters to protest outside the state Capitol. Other Republican leaders have also sprung to Paxton’s defense. Senator Ted Cruz called the impeachment a “travesty,” and Trump promised to “fight,” politically, any Republican who voted against Paxton. Paxton rose to national prominence when he led a lawsuit challenging President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory.
  • Next, the Texas Senate will hold a trial. A two-thirds majority of the senators present is needed to convict Paxton and remove him from office permanently. Paxton’s wife, Angela, who is a state senator, could be among the voters. She has yet to say whether she will recuse from the vote.

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