Former Harris County prosecutor says DA’s office did not want HPD officer to testify in Harding Street Case

Former Prosecutor also believes he was scapegoat

HOUSTON – Former Harris County prosecutor Coby Leslie went from asking questions in court to answering them on Friday.

Leslie says his old colleagues at the DA’s office did not want HPD officer Felipe Gallegos to testify before a grand jury that ultimately indicted him.

“She specifically said she did not want your client to testify for the reason she felt that it was a ruse by you to try and get information from us,”' said Leslie who highlighted two individuals he worked with in the office.

The first was Assistant District Attorney Kim Clark.

“Kim Clark told the grand jury.. he was outside..” said Leslie before prosecutors objected. Judge Frank Aguilar overruled and Leslie continued speaking to Clark’s actions in response to questions by Rusty Hardin, the defense attorney for Gallegos.

“She told the grand jury that your client was outside willing and ready to testify but she told them we already have four statements from him. We didn’t need to hear from him again,” said Leslie.

Leslie also testified the actions of Former Civil Right Division Chief Natasha Sinclair.

“Natasha specifically said that she did not want your client to testify,” Leslie said.

Gallegos never testified prior to getting indicted.

Last month a murder charge against Gallegos was dropped. The charge was connected to the shooting death of Dennis Tuttle during the deadly botched raid on Harding Street. At the time District Attorney Kim Ogg cited Leslie’s “conduct” and “judgement” for his termination and dismissal of the murder charge. Less than 24 hours after his firing, Leslie defended his reputation to KPRC 2 Investigates while blaming the DA’s office.

“They had to dismiss the case because they were too incompetent and too inexperienced to know how to prepare a case like that for trial and too arrogant to listen to people who did. It has absolutely nothing to do with questions of judgment,” Leslie said in a statement at the time.

On Friday, Leslie admitted he believed he was used as a scapegoat when pressed on the issue by Hardin.

That’s my personal opinion, yes.”

When the DA’s office was asked about Leslie’s scapegoat comments, David Mitcham the DA’s Office First Assistant said “He’s entitled to his belief.”

When KPRC 2 Investigates asked if he was? Mitcham quickly responded, “No”.

RELATED: Prosecutor allegedly fired for ‘conduct, judgment’ fires back at Harris County DA Kim Ogg

Leslie did testify that he did not witness any prosecutorial misconduct during the grand jury presentation as the grand jury was provided with options.

KPRC 2′s Legal Analyst Brian Wice said today was a black eye for Ogg and her team.

“This one is going to leave a mark.” Wice said, adding it’s another significant stumble for Ogg and her team. “The County’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer and her top deputies certainly seem to be in over their heads in high profile cases.”

RELATED: Examining Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg’s high profile cases

Following Leslie’s time on the stand, KPRC 2 Investigates asked Mitcham whether or not the DA’s office should have done anything differently. For several seconds Mitcham did not answer before eventually providing the following response: “The DA’s office utilized the information that we had at the time to do what we did.”

The DA’s office said last month they plan on presenting the Gallegos case once again to a grand jury.


About the Author: