HOUSTON – Since Tuesday, there have been nationwide headlines involving former HPD Captain Mark Aguirre. The 63-year-old is accused of ramming David Zuniga, an air conditioning repairman, off the road and holding him at gunpoint.
Law enforcement says Aguirre was convinced he was hauling 750,000 illegal ballots.
“This may not be Watergate rewritten. But it is certainly something that has captured the public’s imagination,” said Brian Wice, KPRC 2 Legal Analyst.
Aguirre was due to be arraigned Thursday morning but his arraignment was postponed after his attorney informed the court that Aguirre has COVID-19.
“This is a political prosecution. Retaliation for the investigation that was being done,” said Aguirre’s attorney Terry Yates.
Wice says criminal responsibility is limited to Aguirre.
“Right now the trail begins and ends with the defendant,” he said.
Even though he was hired by The Liberty Center God and Country, court records show the conservative group paid him $211,000 the day after the incident involving Zuniga.
The Liberty Center is run by conservative activist Steve Hotze, known for spreading conspiracy theories. One on the group’s Facebook page claims COVID-19 is a social experiment by elite globalists for population control. He also states vaccines will turn us into zombie-like controlled masses and weapons of war.
Dr. Michael Adams, the chair of the political department at Texas Southern University, says social media is a huge factor in conspiracy theories because of digital accessibility and engagement.
“Today, everybody has their own media source,” he said.
Adams calls conspiracy theories “gaslighting.” A form of manipulation meant to question your own reality.
“They tend to play on people’s emotions,” he said.
Aguirre’s case went one step further into alleged criminal activity. However, Wice emphasizes Aguirre is likely the only person to be held accountable.
“Unless there is evidence that tends to connect Dr. Hotze or anybody else to the commission of this aggravated assault, that is the beginning and the end of this matter,” Wice said.