Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao is not 'target' of federal investigation, lawyer says

ByLena Howland and Anser Hassan KGO logo
Saturday, June 22, 2024
Oakland mayor is not 'target' of federal investigation: lawyer
The lawyer for Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao says she is not a "target" of a federal investigation.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao was not scheduled to come to work at City Hall on Friday, the day after the FBI raided her home in Oakland.

Mayor Thao has retained Tony Brass as her attorney to present her in a federal investigation. He is a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.

"It is really unfortunate that this warrant was executed at her residence. Because the public appearance of that, is of images of corruption. And I can tell you, I have spoken to the U.S. attorney's office. And I have no information that she is a target right now," says Brass.

Early Thursday morning, more than a dozen FBI agents raided Mayor Thao's home in Oakland. Four hours later, they hauled off boxes and bags of evidence. Law enforcement sources tell ABC7 News that this is a public corruption case, with the FBI, IRS and U.S. Postal Service working together.

VIDEO: Oakland mayor's former chief of staff details what she shared with FBI during 2023 meeting

Mayor Thao's former chief of staff described an office filled with confusion and chaos - much of it centered around the mayor's partner, Andre Jones, and that finally led her to resign.

However, Brass points out that the warrants were for the address where the mayor lives - not for the Mayor Thao specifically.

"It suggests that the information they wanted, whether that information itself suggest criminality, or something that simply something corroborates information, was located there. Or on a device," explains Brass.

The feds also targeted two homes related the Duong family. They own California Waste Solutions, a garbage recycling company that operates in the East Bay and South Bay. The Doung's also are huge political donors.

Nenna Joiner is a small business owner in Oakland. She believes that Mayor Thao is innocent until proven guilty. But her concern is how this will play out in the court of public opinion. Especially as the mayor is facing a recall in November.

MORE: Recall organizers call on Oakland mayor to resign after measure garners enough signatures for ballot

"But the fact that it's our mayor, and someone who is leadership. Who ousted the (previously) police chief," says Joiner.

Joiner is part of a growing chorus of people asking the mayor to resign. She believes Mayor Thao's personal issues are distractions that hurt Oakland's reputation to attract talent and investments.

"We just had a shooting. And we just got a chief of police. For this (shooting), we couldn't have our mayor come out. We couldn't have her come out and talk about it. This is unheard of!" says Joiner, in reference to the a mass shooting on Juneteenth where 15 people were shot.

Brass emphasizes that the mayor was not arrested and that she is fully cooperating with authorities. And, that the investigation does not prevent her from performing her mayoral duties in any capacity.

MORE: 15 shot after 'sideshow' took over a peaceful Juneteenth celebration in Oakland, police say

The city of Oakland issuing a statement Friday morning, saying that business is running as usual amid the controversy:

"Under the City Charter, the City Administrator is responsible for the day-to-day administrative and fiscal operations of the City under the policy guidance of the Office of the Mayor. In his capacity as City Administrator, Jestin Johnson directs City agencies and departments to ensure the goals and policy directives of the Mayor and City Council are implemented."

Oakland says City Administrator Jestin Johnson's duties include running daily operations and he is acting as such.

So far, the FBI has only confirmed that they carried out a "court authorized law enforcement activity" at the mayor's home.

It's still unclear what was found at any of the four locations raided on Thursday.

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