Texas GOP activist Steven Hotze charged with assault

Holds space while article actions load

Steven Hotze was not there when a private detective allegedly held a climate repairman under arms shortly before the 2020 election in what authorities called a misleading plan to expose election fraud.

But prosecutors said Hotze paid Mark Aguirre, a former Houston police officer, more than $ 266,000 to carry out the fake surveillance operation. For that, the 71-year-old Texas GOP megadonor has been charged with aggravated assault with a lethal weapon and illegal detention.

The indictments, issued Wednesday, come about a year and a half after the incident, which highlighted controversial allegations of electoral fraud during the last presidential election – allegations that remain undocumented. Aguirre had allegedly claimed that the repairman’s truck contained 750,000 illegal ballot papers signed by Latin American children with untraceable fingerprints. Instead, police found parts for air conditioning.

While GOP lawmakers are pushing for more allegations of electoral fraud, prosecutors are finding few cases

In 2020, a nonprofit organization, such as Hotze, established the Liberty Center for God and Country, paid 20 private investigators close to $ 300,000 to lead an investigation into illegal polls in Harris County, Tex., prosecutors said. Aguirre, who police said was one of those contractors, has also been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors have said the former Houston police captain received a payment of $ 211,400 on October 20, 2020 – a day after he allegedly drove his car into the repairman’s truck and held a gun to the man’s head.

Hotze’s indictment was not released early Friday. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gary Polland, Hotze’s lawyer, said the fact that his client would be prosecuted is “absolutely outrageous” since he was not present at the time of the alleged assault.

“Dr. Hotze did not find out what had happened until after it happened, and it came in the news the next day in Houston,” Polland told The Washington Post. “This is basically one or two steps away from party law. . “

Under state law on party doctrine, a person can be held accountable for another person’s criminal acts in various circumstances – such as getting an innocent person to act criminally or assisting, soliciting and not preventing a crime.

Poland said Hotze’s actions do not fall into any of these categories.

“Hotze donated money to these investigators, but they are independent contractors doing their own thing,” Polland said. “He did not even know about the repairman. He had only heard that they might have found someone carrying a lot of illegal ballots.”

In Trump sound, interview with Piers Morgan ends amicably after testimony

Hotze wears many hats in Texas, where he is a physician, conservative activist and speech radio host. He has contributed extensively to Republican candidates and political action committees since at least 1998. In 2015, he supported an anti-gay rights campaign against the legalization of gay marriage. During the pandemic, he filed lawsuits against public health measures. But for the past few years, he has spearheaded the state push to expose alleged electoral fraud.

His efforts date back to 2018. That year, according to court documents, the Republican power player requested donations from hundreds of citizens who were concerned about election offenses – especially ballot papers sent to dead people.

“My client’s concern was about ballot security and ballot fraud and the desire to make sure there was no cheating,” Polland said. “And I like to say ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. So he ends up being prosecuted.”

Paul Gosar’s office denies role in the far-right event after the group announced it

Along with the indictment, Hotze is facing a lawsuit from the repairman, who demands more than $ 1 million in compensation.

The Conservative activist’s recent legal battles against alleged electoral fraud have so far not proved successful. Despite the impending trial, Poland said Hotze has no plans to quit.

“If there is anything,” said the lawyer, “he will probably double it.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.