HARRIS COUNTY, TX – A new search warrant has emerged in the criminal investigation focused on how an $11 million vaccine outreach contract was awarded by Harris County to Elevate Strategies.
The 19-page warrant shows Texas Rangers telling the tech giant that information about Google is needed implicating Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and others in her office.
“The investigation is expanding as Rangers are searching for and have obtained 14 Google Docs files,” KPRC 2 legal analyst Brian Wice said.
The information requested from Google is specific records of “Google Docs”, according to an investigator, Hidalgo and his team built the project using this platform, according to the 19-page mandate. The investigator told Google that they are requesting “detailed electronic customer data” held by the company “that constitutes evidence of the offense of falsifying a government document and/or misusing official information, or that a particular person has committed government document forgery and/or misuse of official information.
Wice says the investigation is still in its early stages.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that any of the additional names we see today are in danger. It only means that they are part of the county government,” he explained.
The warrant was signed on March 10 and tells Google they have 15 days to comply after receiving it.
Judge Hidalgo clarified her position after the revelation of the investigation.
“What I can say is this; I respect the law,” Hidalgo said during a nearly 20-minute press conference on March 22.
During the same press conference, Hidalgo admitted to KPRC 2 Survey that she and others developed the project.
“We all worked on it together. I don’t remember where the idea originally came from, maybe it was someone hearing about some of the other jurisdictions doing something similar, but we were definitely all in conversation. What should it look like? How would we design it? And then the concept was built,” she explained.
The latest tenure refers to Hidalgo’s account, specifically with several senior executives and advisers. Those listed are Alex Triantaphyllis, his current chief of staff; Joe Madden, his former chief of staff; Senior advisers Aaron Dunn and Wallis Nader, as well as his county legal adviser, Kathryn Kase.
Communications director Rafael Lemaitre’s account is also provided.
Murray Newman, who represents Lemaitre, questioned the public release of warrants, adding, “To hype a lot and talk a lot beforehand is basically that, it’s hype and it talks.”
KPRC 2 Investigates has requested an on-camera interview with one of Hidalgo’s lawyers in light of the emergence of the new warrant. However, the lawyer refused our request.
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