Attorney for Houston Health Department employee involved in FBI search warrant says client is ‘shocked’ and ‘concerned’
Many questions are still swirling around the city following the execution of a search warrant at the Houston Health Department last Wednesday.
KPRC 2 Investigates was able to get an answer to one of these questions on Monday.
Barry Barnes is the Houston Health Department employee who is part of the FBI’s investigation into public corruption as Barnes’ office was searched and boxes of evidence were loaded into vehicles.
When asked specifically if his client is the target of a federal investigation? Michael Wynne, the attorney representing Barnes, offered the following response:
“It is unclear, at this point, the scope of the federal investigation. However, federal authorities have been very cooperative and professional with us thus far,” Wynne said.
As for his client’s reaction to the sudden appearance of the FBI: “My client was shocked. He is very, very worried.
Wynne is a former federal prosecutor turned defense attorney. He said his client had been a city employee of HHD for almost 15 years.
“He feels like he’s following all the regulations, all the letter of the law, and doing his job and doing a fantastic job promoting the health department,” Wynne says.
As for the degree of cooperation his client is willing to provide at this time?
“My client is ready and willing to answer any questions anyone may have,” Wynne said.
The health department revealed last Wednesday that officers were focused on employee conduct as well as an HHD supplier.
KPRC 2 political analyst Ed Emmett said a statement was on the way: “This sends a clear signal.”
Instances of federal public corruption are rarely seen in Houston, but the office recently unveiled new initiatives under close leadership.
“That’s the key, you have to have someone watching the system from the outside, and for years we haven’t seen that from the US Attorney or the FBI here, so maybe -be a positive signal,” Emmett said.
It was last October when the FBI created a new email address, [email protected], to seek public information about allegations of public corruption in the Houston area.
The FBI Houston said it has received more than 5,000 tips since the address was launched.
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