Ed Jew declined to speak with reporters outside the Federal Courthouse. But he said volumes in the courtroom.
During a routine hearing, the former San Francisco supervisor pleaded guilty to charges of bribery, extortion and mail fraud.
A federal grand jury indicted Jew last fall, accusing him of trying to shake down Quickly Tapioca store owners who had permit problems with the city.
Prosecutors said he had accepted $40,000 in bribes. Prosecutors said on Friday it had videotape of Jew counting the money in his Chinatown flower shop, all of it in $100 bills.
In his Burlingame home, the FBI found $10,000 of the money wrapped in tin foil in his kitchen freezer. Jew told the judge today he wasn't going to spend the money on himself.
Stuart Hanlon is his lawyer.
"The higher purpose was to get money from them and put it back for other things he had to do as a supervisor," said Hanlon.
Hanlon also says Jew believed his actions were legal because others operated that way.
The way he was brought up in the system, was people got money whether it was the red envelope or just cash payments and then use that money for other things in the community," said Hanlon.
First assistant U.S. attorney Dave Anderson says that's no excuse.
"It's not an excuse to say you had good intentions or the money was going to a good cause. If its bribery, its bribery. If its extortion, its extortion," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Dave Anderson.
Jew told the judge: "I'm truly sorry for my actions. I regret them," said Jew to the judge. "I brought disgrace on my position and I take full responsibility."
Jew still faces state charges of perjury and election code violations.
San Francisco prosecutors accuse him of living in Burlingame when he ran for supervisor. His attorney says he'll meet with them to resolve that case.
Jew goes before the judge February 13th for sentencing. The maximum punishment is 50 years in prison. But because of federal sentencing guidelines, JEW is expected to get much less time.