Texas businessman at center of AG Ken Paxton’s impeachment pleads not guilty to federal charges

This undated photo provided by the Austin Police Department shows Nate Paul. Paul, the businessman at the center of the scandal that led to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxtons historic impeachment, is set to make an initial appearance in federal court Friday, June 9, 2023, following his arrest by the FBI. (Austin Police Department via AP) (Uncredited)

AUSTIN, Texas – A Texas real estate developer at the center of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment has pleaded not guilty to charges of making false statements to banks that loaned him more than $170 million.

Nate Paul waived his scheduled arraignment before a U.S. district judge in Austin, according to court documents posted Friday.

Paul figures heavily in 20 articles of impeachment filed against Texas' top law enforcement officer. Paxton is accused of abusing his power and bribery in order to help Paul, who gave the Republican a $25,000 campaign donation in 2018.

There is no reference to Paxton in Paul’s indictment, which accuses the developer of making false statements to multiple banks in 2017 and 2018. But one of the banks later received a subpoena, issued in person, by an attorney Paxton hired as an “outside independent prosecutor” to pursue complaints Paul made after the FBI raided the businessman's offices.

Paxton has denied wrongdoing and his impeachment trial is set to begin Sept. 5.