This story has been updated with a comment from Steven Hotze’s attorney.
Conservative activist and GOP megadonor Steven Hotze told a former U.S. attorney that an ex-police officer under his employ planned to investigate election fraud and cause “a wreck” for a repairman two days before the alleged assault occurred, according to court documents.
Hotze, who has since been indicted on felony counts of unlawful restraint and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, told then-U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick that the former officer had been following the victim for days, and requested assistance from federal marshals — assistance that was ultimately denied, according to a transcript of the conversation.
“He told me last night, ‘hell, I’m gonna have, the guy’s gonna have a wreck tomorrow,’” Hotze said in the transcript, referring to former Houston police captain Mark Aguirre. “‘I’m going to run into him and I’m gonna make a citizen’s arrest.’”
According to law enforcement and prosecutors, Aguirre tried to do just that: police say he ran an air conditioning repairman off the road in October 2020, held him at gunpoint, and had his truck searched.
Houston police later came upon the scene and Aguirre claimed 750,000 fraudulent ballots were inside the repairman’s truck, according to court documents. Police say they only found air conditioning equipment inside.
The transcript shows Hotze laying out a plan to approach the repairman with a U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement officer, threatening to deport him and his family.
“(W)e gotta get (the repairman) to confess,” Hotze is shown saying. “And let me tell you what, if Aguirre gets these guys, he’ll get a confession in five minutes.”
Prosecutors say Aguirre received $250,000 to uncover the massive — and ultimately, fictional — election fraud scheme.
Patrick, the son of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, recorded the conversation. In the transcript, he tells Hotze on multiple occasions that he can not provide any help for the bogus investigation. Hotze continues to ask for advice, which Patrick largely deflects.
Toward the end of the six-and-a-half minute transcript, a doorbell rings, and Patrick ends the call.
Hotze’s longtime attorney Jared Woodfill denied any wrongdoing on behalf of his client. In a statement, Woodfill criticized prosecutors for transcribing what he called an “incomplete recording.”
“The fact that the DA would release a partial recording prior to producing the file to Dr. Hotze, further proves that the case is about one thing-politics,” Woodfill said. “We look forward to proving Dr. Hotze’s innocence.”
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