HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Days after a court filing demanded she step aside from prosecuting Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo's staffers, District Attorney Kim Ogg says she won't and she's done nothing wrong.
In an interview with 13 Investigates on Friday, Ogg denied allegations that she started the grand jury investigation due to losing funding battles at Harris County Commissioners Court, as the motion suggests.
"We have not targeted or sent a target letter Judge Hidalgo. The staffers have done what they've done. The evidence has been presented to a grand jury and our work continues," Ogg said.
In May, a Harris County grand jury indicted three Hidalgo staffers in what prosecutors call a contract "steering" case. Court documents allege Alex Triantaphyllis, Wallis Nader and Aaron Dunn (who now works for the Flood Control District) shared non-public information with the eventual winner of an $11 million COVID-19 outreach contract and lied about that on official county forms.
Ogg said the motions, filed Wednesday by Hidalgo's indicted senior staffers Triantaphyllis and Nader, was "a string of fictitious and often unrelated incidents linked together to allege some conflict of interest that simply doesn't exist. I've been asking for more money since February of 2019. And certainly before that, I asked the Republican led commissioners court for more money."
On the allegation that Ogg hired a former Assistant Harris County Attorney to prosecute the case, Ogg defended Barbara Armstrong.
"Barbara's a fine lawyer. I've known her a long time," Ogg told 13 Investigates. "It's our position that she didn't (violate conflict of interest rules) and I believe that'll be part of the motion (to be filed in response by the DA's office)."
Repeating a plea she's made several times in the recent past, Ogg encouraged the judge and staffers to share evidence with the Texas Rangers if they believe Ogg's team has it wrong.
"I do urge Judge Hidalgo to immediately tell, testify, give whatever evidence she has to the Texas Rangers. I continue to hear that they have evidence that they've given the press, etc., so if there's something that any of these defendants, their lawyers or Judge Hidalgo have to add to the evidence, they must give it to the Texas Rangers and they need to do it now," Ogg said.
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