HOUSTON – A former Houston police captain has been charged after being accused of holding a repairman at gunpoint in a bogus voter-fraud conspiracy, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
The former captain, Mark Anthony Aguirre, 63, was arrested Tuesday and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Aguirre, who went to authorities with pre-election claims that a massive voter fraud scheme was underway in Harris County, is accused of running a man off the road while pointing a gun at his head in an attempt to prove his claims, prosecutors said.
“He crossed the line from dirty politics to commission of a violent crime and we are lucky no one was killed,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “His alleged investigation was backward from the start – first alleging a crime had occurred and then trying to prove it happened.”
According to court documents, Aguirre told police shortly after the Oct. 19 incident, “that he was part of a group of private citizens called, ‘Liberty Center,’ who were conducting a civilian investigation into the alleged ballot scheme.”
According to court documents, Aguirre said he had been reviewing surveillance on the repairman for four days, accusing the victim of being the mastermind of a giant fraud, saying 750,000 fraudulent ballots were inside a truck the repairman was driving.
Prosecutors said the accused victim was actually “an innocent and ordinary air conditioner repairman.”
According to court documents, Aguirre ran his SUV into the back of the truck, trying to get the repairman to stop. When the repairman got out of the truck, Aguirre pointed a handgun at the man, forced him to the ground and put his knee on the man’s back, which was captured on the body-worn camera of a police officer, according to court documents.
Aguirre then directed other officers to a parking lot nearby where another suspect, who has not been identified, took the truck, according to court documents.
Investigators found that there were no ballots in the truck and instead, it was filled with air conditioning parts and tools.
According to court documents, Aguirre had been paid a total of $266,400 by the Houston-based Liberty Center for God and Country, with $211,400 of that amount being deposited into his account the day after the incident.
The Houston Police Department is investigating the incident and the case is being prosecuted by the Public Corruption Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
After a thorough investigation by the department and the Office Constable Precinct 1 Alan Rosen, as part of the Harris County Election Security Task Force, Aguirre’s claims of election fraud were found to be false, according to court documents.
Attorney Jared Woodfill, of the Liberty Center, told Channel 2 Investigates, the head of the Liberty Center, Dr. Hotze, “had hired Mark Aguirre’s Investigation Firm” and he had a team of approximately 20 investigators on the case.
Woodfill adds, “Dr. Hotze didn’t know what he (Aguirre) was doing. He finds it hard to believe that Captain Aguirre would go stop a car, pull someone out and put a gun to his head.”
At the end of his statement, Woodfill said, “Dr. Hotze was concerned and remains about the integrity of elections in Harris County, the state and across the country.”
Channel 2 Investigates will have more in the coming days on this case.