Lawyer for Leland Yee associate says FBI is 'trolling'

The attorney for the central figure in the racketeering conspiracy case involving State Senator Leland Yee says his client was ensnared by the FBI.
April 1, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The attorney for the man federal prosecutors call the central figure in the racketeering conspiracy case involving State Senator Leland Yee says his client was ensnared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Keith Jackson is a political fundraiser and close confidante of Yee. He was in court Tuesday hoping to be released. The court staff is recommending bond of $250,000.

The judge continued the hearing after listening to arguments from both sides. Among the most serious crimes Jackson is charged with, is murder for hire.

Outside court, Jackson's lawyer James Brosnahan said his client was a community activist who's a danger to no one. Brosnahan said the FBI undercover agents were quote, "trolling" for someone to prosecute and they ensnared Jackson.

"Trolling is you get in the boat and you just look for anybody and they did that," said Brosnahan.

Brosnahan says the charges are unreal.

"There is no murder. There is no body. There is no corpse. It was in the mind of an FBI agent, several of them," he said.

The prosecutor called Jackson a flight risk and a danger to the community. He said Jackson was a one man crime wave and that everything was caught on tape.

The federal complaint says Jackson was involved in drugs, weapons trafficking and murder for hire.

Jackson has no criminal record, but his co-conspirator Raymond Chow has an extensive one. He served time in federal prison for racketeering. When he got out, he became active in Chinatown politics, saying he was a reformed man.

"Unfortunately, there was nothing that I heard which was particularly surprising," said Brosnahan.

That's because the President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, David Chiu, saw the dark side of the so-called "Shrimp Boy."

Five years ago, when Chow became manager of Chinatown's Night Market, Chiu called on then Mayor Gavin Newsom to pull city funding from the program because of Chow's involvement.

"Given the new players that are allegedly involved, I have significant questions about what has been proposed," said Chiu in 2009.

An angry Chow took out an ad in a Chinese newspaper, saying Chiu was like a "corpse eating a vegetarian dinner." Police considered it a veiled threat to Chiu.

"Yes, Raymond Chow did publicly attack me, he personally threatened me, he came after me and the police thought it was important, for a period of time, to provide police protection," said Chiu.

That police protection lasted six months.


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