We at the District Attorney’s Office take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, the laws of the United States and of this State, Texas. We rely upon evidence to bring cases before grand juries, courts and trial juries. Our mission is to seek justice in every single case and we are doing our job.
The nearly daily public misstatements being made by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo about pending felony cases brought against three members of her staff now compel comment to the public by this office and by me, the top law enforcement official in Harris County. Failing to do so allows a top county official, in her official capacity, to continue to improperly influence those people of Harris County who will serve on the jury in this case. This harms everyone, including the accused, and must stop.
The process our Harris County government utilizes to issue contracts and to aid Harris County residents with problems like COVID-19 should be a totally transparent process, ethically and under law. The criminal charges currently being prosecuted by the Harris County DA’s Office were brought after a diverse grand jury indicted the defendants.
An indictment is a finding by a grand jury of probable cause that crime occurred, and in this instance that three “public servants,” while working in the County Judge’s Office, diverted an $11 million contract to a political consultant under the guise of COVID vaccine outreach – money that a more qualified bidder could have used to accomplish the worthwhile goal of increasing awareness and participation in COVID vaccination in underrepresented communities throughout Harris County.
In this case, a grand jury spent five months reviewing evidence and listening to testimony concerning the Elevate Strategies contract procurement. Judge Hidalgo has referred to case evidence, to information the investigators and prosecutors don’t have. She has an ethical duty and responsibility to provide any evidence under oath to the Texas Rangers and she should do so immediately.
The criminal justice process is not a debate. It is not theater. It is the search for truth and the place for accountability under the law. We do not fight out our differences in the streets or on social media and I will not try this case in the court of public opinion. We will try this case, like every other criminal case, in a court of law before a jury of peers, and we will look to them for a fair outcome. When all the evidence is seen by a trial court, justice will prevail; our work continues.