Texas conservative activist reportedly asks for federal government support

HOUSTON (AP) — A conservative Houston activist charged with unlawful restraint and aggravated assault had asked a U.S. attorney in Texas to provide federal marshals to help his private investigator seize what were believed to be ballots. fraudulent vote in the vehicle of an air conditioner repairman.

A transcript of a phone call from Dr. Steven Hotze to U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick filed in Houston District Court indicates that Hotze informed Patrick of private investigator Mark Aguirre’s plans to crash the repairman’s vehicle and Aguirre makes a citizen’s arrest.

Aguirre was also charged with the same offenses and both men said through their lawyers that they had done nothing wrong. Patrick, now in private practice, declined to comment. Both men are out on bail.

Aguirre had hoped to seize what were believed to be thousands of fraudulent ballots, but the vehicle was carrying only tools, prosecutors said.

Then-President Donald Trump and others falsely claimed that there was massive voter fraud in the November 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden.

“He (Aguirre) needs to have a federal marshal with him,” Hotze said, according to the Oct. 17, 2020, phone call transcript. “He doesn’t want to get (the) Houston Police Department, he said that all the evidence would disappear.”

The Texas attorney general’s office wasn’t helping, according to the transcript, and the county sheriff’s office couldn’t be trusted “obviously because they’re Democrats.”

Ryan replied that no federal agent worked for his office.

“I can’t just send marshals…marshals don’t work for me,” Ryan said, according to the document.

Hotze’s attorney, Jared Woodfill, said in a statement to KTRK-TV that Hotze was innocent.

“The Ryan Patrick tape further demonstrates that Dr. Hotze’s indictment was politically motivated and that Dr. Hotze is innocent of any criminal or civil wrongdoing. We look forward to proving Dr. Hotze’s innocence,” the statement said.

Aguirre’s attorney, Terry Yates, also denied Aguirre’s wrongdoing. “This is a political lawsuit that is completely without merit in fact or in law,” Yates said.

Aguirre allegedly rammed his vehicle into the back of the repairman’s vehicle two days after the phone call, drew a weapon and ordered the man to the ground and knee his back, prosecutors say.

Aguirre was paid $266,400 to conduct the investigation by the Houston-based nonprofit Liberty Center for God and Country, whose CEO is Hotze, police said. The group states on its website that it protects and promotes “God-given and inalienable constitutional rights and freedoms.”

Hotze, a conservative power broker, sued unsuccessfully to stop the extension of early voting in Texas for this year’s election. He also sued Harris County officials for limiting in-person and mail-in voting, alleging without evidence that Democrats engaged in “ballot harvesting” by collecting votes from homeless or elderly people.

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