HOUSTON - A very public counter punch today from Harris County's top prosecutor aimed at the county's chief executive.
"We do not fight out our differences in the streets or on social media and I will not try this case in the court of public opinion," said Ogg.
Earlier this week in a flurry of allegations and denials posted on social media, embattled Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo pushed back against a corruption probe claiming the District Attorney, a fellow Democrat, is looking to derail her re-election bid via manufactured scandal and indictment.
"It's not okay to pursue a political vendetta, a political exercise under the guise of a criminal investigation," said Hidalgo. "It's no coincidence this is happening in the middle of my re-election campaign, that in and of itself, should make it very clear that it's politically motivated."
Last August, FOX 26 was the first to question an $11 million COVID-19 communication contract steered by Hidalgo's Chief of Staff and two others to a little-known, one-woman firm with few resources and deep connections to Democratic campaign operatives.
A subsequent, five-month grand jury probe of the alleged "bid-rigging" resulted in felony charges against all three Hidalgo insiders.
Ogg, in her response, contended Hidalgo's "misstatements" could "improperly influence" citizens called to serve on the jury.
"The criminal justice process is not a debate. It is not theater," said Ogg. "It is the search for truth and the place for accountability under the law. We will try this case, like every other criminal case, in a court of law before a jury of peers, and we will look to them for a fair outcome."
Rice political analyst Mark Jones believes Hidalgo is launching "offense" as the potentially best "defense."
"I think it's part of a calculated strategy. She's trying to lay the playing field so that when and if she is indicted she can say, hey I've been saying for a long time that this is politically motivated," said Jones.
Jones says the risk for Hidalgo lies in drawing added attention and coverage of her legal and ethical challenges.
"A lot of the luster is no longer on Lina Hidalgo's political star and maybe she began to believe a lot of her own political hype," said Jones.
In her statement, Ogg also warned Hidalgo against withholding information referenced in her social media from investigators.
"Judge Hidalgo has referred to case evidence, to inform the investigators and prosecutors don’t have," said Ogg. "She has an ethical duty and responsibility to provide any evidence under oath to the Texas Rangers, and she should do so immediately."