Judge keeps charges in San Francisco Chinatown crime probe

28 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Judge won’t clear ‘Shrimp Boy,’ says Mayor Lee not implicated.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A federal judge refused Thursday to throw out a racketeering case against a man arrested in a money laundering and corruption probe centered in San Francisco’s Chinatown that also led to charges against a California state senator. Chow, charged with racketeering as the leader of a Chinese American community organization called the Ghee Tung Kong, claimed he was being selectively prosecuted for political reasons. Chow, the elected “dragonhead” of the Chinese fraternal group known as the Ghee Kung Tong, was arrested after a years-long investigation that also ensnared state Sen.

One document described a conversation between Lee and an agent who posed as a campaign contributor and discussed possible real estate projects in San Francisco. District Judge Charles Breyer said Chow’s lawyers had failed to show the basic elements of selective prosecution: that others who had committed similar crimes were not prosecuted, and that Chow was being singled out for improper reasons. The undercover agent’s account of his conversations with Lee and his fundraisers showed mostly “what political campaigning is about, which is raising money,” Breyer said.

Leland Yee, who pleaded guilty to racketeering in the same investigation and admitted promising legislative assistance to his purported campaign supporters. Briggs in court documents had also asked the court to allow him to question witnesses and review documents to reveal the “true motivations” behind prosecutors’ decision to charge his client.

The co-defendants, he said, were “small fish,” and Chow and his allies were the prosecutors’ targets. “This is a political case,” Serra said. He said Lee and other officials investigated by the FBI, in documents provided to Chow’s lawyers and disclosed in the Aug. 4 filing, were spared because they’re “too big to fall.”

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