Houston

Hidalgo blames indictments of 3 staffers on ‘soiled tips’

Alex Triantaphyllis, Wallis Nader and Aaron Dunn appeared in courtroom right this moment on fees of misuse of official info and tampering with a authorities document.

HOUSTON — Three indicted senior staffers from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s office made their first courtroom appearances Tuesday morning, whereas their boss made her first feedback. 

Alex Triantaphyllis, Wallis Nader and Aaron Dunn have been indicted Monday following an investigation into an $11 million COVID vaccine outreach contract.

All three face felony fees of misuse of official information and tampering with a government record.

Hidalgo made her first public feedback in regards to the indictments Tuesday with a prolonged assertion on Twitter. 

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that unfair accusations are being leveled against my team in the middle of my re-election campaign,” Hidalgo tweeted. (*3*) Full assertion posted beneath.

Triantaphyllis is at the moment Hidalgo’s chief of workers. Nader at the moment serves as coverage director and Dunn is a former staffer. 

“After listening to the prosecutor’s rendering of probable cause, I’m really, really curious to see how in the world they’re going to prove this case,” Dunn’s legal professional stated after the listening to. “I represent an innocent man, and we look forward to fighting it.”

“There has been no wrongdoing here. We’re glad to be in a fair and objective forum, finally,” Triantaphyllis’ legal professional stated.

Read full assertion from County Judge Lina Hidalgo

“I’ve made my emotions recognized about this investigation which has dragged on for months. Various information stories have proven that it is continuing with what’s, at greatest, a severe misinformation of the info. I’m very assured that, when the info are recognized, my crew will likely be cleared. I’ve held myself to the very best moral requirements and that is mirrored in my unprecedented dedication to not settle for money from anyone who does business with the county. The individuals I select to serve in my office perceive that code of ethics. 

I ran in opposition to a mode of politics that labored extra for the people who held office than for the individuals who voted for them. I do not play a recreation. And that is threatening to the powers that be. I believe the notion is that if they arrive after me on what’s my power — the ethics of this office and my very own — that they will rating political factors. I do not suppose it is a coincidence that unfair accusations are being leveled in opposition to my crew within the center of my re-election marketing campaign. 

I don’t, and won’t, cave to bullying or political soiled tips. I’ve not seen something to recommend my workers did something however work tirelessly for the individuals of Harris County. They will stay on my crew.”

Vaccine contract investigation

As 11 News Investigates reported in March, the investigation facilities round an $11 million COVID vaccine outreach contract that was awarded to Elevate Strategies in June 2021.

At difficulty is whether or not Hidalgo staffers gave Elevate Strategies LLC and its proprietor Felicity Pereyra insider details about the project weeks earlier than a request for proposals was open to the general public. 

Staffers have been stated to even have labored to make sure one other company didn’t win the contract, in response to a search warrant.

Four firms finally utilized for the project after the request for proposal grew to become public in February.

The contract was awarded to Elevate Strategies in June 2021 however was later terminated in September 2021 because of the company’s inexperience with public well being outreach and alleged ties to native Democratic occasion officers.

The investigation into the staffers’ involvement within the contract heated up on March 11 when the Texas Rangers and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office served search warrants to the Harris County Administration Building.

WATCH: More stories about vaccine contract investigation from 11 Investigates

Computers and telephones of no less than two of her workers members have been seized on the time, in response to sources.

Most lately, the Texas Rangers have seemed into the Google accounts of six senior workers members of the Hidalgo’s office, in addition to the decide herself. Investigators seized a complete of 14 Google recordsdata regarding the vaccine outreach contract. No fees have been filed in opposition to Hidalgo or the opposite three senior workers members.

“Prosecutors offered the proof to a Harris County grand jury, which decided there was ample proof for felony fees. We will comply with the proof wherever it leads and apply the legislation equally to all; our work continues,” Dane Schiller, spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, stated in a press release Tuesday.

KHOU authorized analyst Carmen Roe says it seems this investigation is much from over.

“If I’m in her [Judge Hidalgo]’s office I’m shaking in my boots,” stated Roe. “This is not going to end well for anyone in that office who had anything to do with those contracts.”

Statements from attorneys

Alex Triantaphyllis’ legal professional:

“We look forward to the upcoming court proceedings, which will shine a light on the fact that there has been no wrongdoing here. These charges against my client are unsupported by a full and objective review of the facts and the voluminous evidence in this case.”

“Aaron Dunn is innocent. He has been an honest and dedicated public servant. He didn’t share any information, he didn’t commit any crime, and ultimately he will be vindicated.”

There has been no response but from Wallis Nader or her legal professional and neither commented after Tuesday’s courtroom look. 

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