A former Houston police captain was charged with assault Tuesday after working a person off the street and holding him at gunpoint in an effort to show what authorities have known as a bogus voter fraud scheme. Mark Aguirre claimed an air conditioner repairman was the mastermind of the scheme and mentioned he believed the person’s truck was crammed with fraudulent ballots when he ran his SUV into it on Oct. 19, in line with authorities.
“The defendant said (the motive force) has roughly seven hundred and fifty thousand fraudulent mail ballots and is utilizing Hispanic youngsters to signal the ballots as a result of the kids’s fingerprints wouldn’t seem in any databases,” in line with an arrest affidavit.
Aguirre instructed police he and a few buddies arrange a “command put up” at a Marriott resort in suburban Houston and carried out 24-hour surveillance on the repairman for 4 days, in line with the affidavit. He mentioned he then ran the person’s truck off the street, pointed a gun at him, pressured him onto the bottom and put a knee on his again, the affidavit mentioned.
Police who responded to the incident searched the truck and located solely air-con components and instruments, authorities mentioned. Authorities didn’t identify the truck driver, who was not harm.
“A prolonged investigation … decided allegations of election fraud had been unfounded and no proof of unlawful ballots was discovered,” Houston police mentioned.
Aguirre instructed a police officer on the scene, “I simply hope you are a patriot,” in line with the affidavit.
Lt. Wayne Rubio with the Texas Lawyer Common’s Workplace later instructed police that Aguirre had requested his workplace to conduct a site visitors cease for his investigation and when Rubio mentioned he could not do this, Aguirre mentioned he would do it himself and “make a citizen’s arrest,” in line with the affidavit.
Aguirre, 63, has been charged with aggravated assault with a lethal weapon. Court docket information didn’t listing an legal professional for Aguirre.
If convicted, Aguirre faces as much as 20 years in jail. Police haven’t recognized another suspects.
Police say Aguirre was paid $266,400 by Houston-based Liberty Middle for God and Nation, a nonprofit group that’s run by GOP get together activist Dr. Steven Hotze.
A conservative energy dealer, Hotze unsuccessfully sued to cease the extension of early voting in Texas for this 12 months’s election. He additionally sued officers in Harris County, the place Houston is positioned, to restrict in-person and absentee voting, making allegations with out proof that Democrats had been engaged in “poll harvesting” by gathering votes from people who’re homeless or aged.
Allegations by President Donald Trump and others of huge voter fraudby a number of judges, state election officers, an arm of his personal administration’s Homeland Safety Division and Lawyer Common William Barr.
Hotze was additionally a part of a gaggle of people who unsuccessfully tried to problem the legality of drive-thru voting in Harris County.
Jared Woodfill, an legal professional for Hotze, mentioned Liberty Middle had employed Aguirre’s firm and round 20 investigators who had been trying into allegations of voter fraud throughout the election.
Woodfill mentioned he would not know if Aguirre was engaged on the investigation on the time of the alleged assault, however that Liberty Middle would not approve of such techniques.
“We might by no means endorse that, saying go pull somebody over, put a gun as much as their head and make them open up their truck,” he mentioned.
Woodfill mentioned he can be “shocked if the allegations had been true. That appears out of character for any of the individuals that will be working below Liberty Middle.”
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Aguirre’s actions “crossed the road from soiled politics to fee of a violent crime.”
“We’re fortunate nobody was killed,” Ogg mentioned. “His alleged investigation was backward from the beginning — first alleging a criminal offense had occurred after which attempting to show it occurred.”
Aguirre was fired from the Houston Police Division in 2003 after a botched raid wherein almost 300 individuals had been arrested in a crackdown on unlawful road racing. Most who had been arrested weren’t linked to road racing and prices had been dropped. Aguirre was tried and acquitted on 5 counts of official oppression.