June 29, 2022



‘A grand jury can indict a ham sandwich’

2 min read

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is continuing to brush off any concerns regarding the indictments of members of her staff in relation to a vaccine outreach contract investigation.

When asked in an interview Thursday with ABC13 if she was worried about being indicted herself, Hidalgo responded “I don’t know how far this is going to go and it’s very easy if you present one-sided facts to a grand jury. Everybody knows that a grand jury can indict a ham sandwich if that’s all they see.” (It may be noted that Hidalgo, a vegan, doesn’t eat ham sandwiches).

Three of Hidalgo’s top aides — including her chief of staff — were indicted on Monday by a grand jury on charges of misuse of official information and tampering with a government record. The staff members are being investigated for allegedly steering a near $11 million COVID-19 vaccine outreach contract with Houston-based Elevate Strategies, sharing proposal documents with the company before they were made public.

The county judge dismissed what she called a “flimsy, unsubstantiated case” and claimed that she does not accept financial contributions from people who do business with Harris County. “I don’t do that,” she told ABC13. “So, it makes no sense that I would leave on the table enormous amounts of money and to do such a completely silly thing as is being alleged. There’s just no logic to it and obviously my staff wouldn’t do that either.”

Hidalgo claims her ethics are being called into question in a politically motivated attack as she seeks reelection. The Democratic leader also dismissed any concerns when asked about her staff’s indictments, saying that the case is going forward with a “fundamental misunderstanding of the facts.”

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“The facts just don’t add up as they’re being presented,” Hidalgo said. “It’s the middle of an election year and I think it’s very clear that the motivations around this are just to harm me politically and it’s very sad to see the criminal justice system used that way.”

The interview follows a statement Hidalgo posted on Twitter Tuesday defending her staff, saying that she’s confident her team will be cleared. “I’ve held myself to the highest ethical standards and that’s reflected in my unprecedented commitment not to accept money from anybody who does business with the county,” Hidalgo wrote. “The people I choose to serve in my office understand that code of ethics.”


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