Video from Hayashi's shoplifting case made public

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Video of former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi's shoplifting case at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco has been made public. (KGO)

An embarrassing incident for former assemblywoman Mary Hayashi resurfaced Wednesday. She pleaded no contest to shoplifting at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco several years ago. And now, as she runs for state Senate, video of that incident has been made public.

In her defense to 2011 shoplifting charges, Hayashi said she was distracted by her cellphone and didn't realize she had walked out of the Union Square Neiman Marcus with $2,500 in clothing that she hadn't paid for.

At a 2012 court hearing, her then attorney said Hayashi had a benign brain tumor that impaired her judgment.

But now, it's possible to see what happened on the day of the incident.

For most of the hour-long surveillance video, Hayashi looks like any other shopper, carrying several bags and thumbing through the racks.

It's when Hayashi leaves the store and two store security officers stop her, that things don't look quite right.

"She was not distracted, did not appear to be distracted," said Lisa Tucker, a consultant for Democratic State Senate candidate Bob Wieckowski.

It was a Wieckowski supporter and democratic blogger who obtained the video from San Francisco police through a Freedom of Information Act request. It was then posted on YouTube.

"We think it's important for voters to know this incident happened, she's still on probation, and if she were elected to the state Senate, she would be on probation," Tucker said.

But Hayashi's camp sees a big problem with the release of this video, two and a half years after the incident and two weeks before the June 3 primary election.

Hayashi was not available for comment. But in a statement, campaign spokesperson Robert Salazar said, "Wieckowski's attacks are the kind that come from a serial bully who will say and do anything to stay in power, no matter what."

Melinda Jackson is a San Jose State political analyst.

"I think we have to trust the voters to decide whether this is still an important issue that speaks to her trustworthiness or if this is something best put in the past," she said.

Hayashi pleaded no contest to misdemeanor grand theft in 2012 and is serving three years' probation.
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