San Jose

Former County Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. Sentenced to Community Service for Phony Campaign Mailers

A judge on Friday sentenced former Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. to 45 days of community service for sending false campaign mailers.

The judge had also asked Shirakawa to confess to more details at this hearing about how he prepared and sent the phony mailers.

Judge Ron Del Pozzo had said he would sentence Shirakawa Jr. to probation with community service instead of jail time after Shirakawa agreed to plead no contest Feb. 23 to preparing and sending fake campaign cards in 2010. The fake mailers were intended to damage a candidate for San Jose City Council among Vietnamese-American voters.

The judge offered to impose the no-jail sentence on the felony charge as long as Shirakawa Jr. provided a statement to a probation officer accepting responsibility for creating and disseminating the mailer, according to prosecutors. Shirakawa issued an apology, according to the Mercury News, that read: "My DNA appears on that flier because I created that flier,'' he said in a brief written statement. The flier painted San Jose City Council candidate Magdalena Carrasco as a communist sympathizer in 2010 and helped Shirakawa's buddy and political ally Xavier Campos defeat her. "I regret my conduct and apologize to the voters and the Santa Clara community for my actions.''

Shirakawa Jr., 53, faced up to three years in prison on the charge of impersonating Magdalena Carrasco's campaign committee to harm Carrasco's run for council District 5 against Shirakawa's former aide Xavier Campos during the June 2010 primary election.

Based on an offer by Del Pozzo to resolve the case, discussed in chambers Feb. 23 with Shirakawa Jr.'s lawyer Jay Rorty and Deputy District Attorney John Chase, Shirakawa changed his not guilty plea to no contest in exchange for community service and probation, according to prosecutors.

Shirakawa told NBC Bay Area he felt he was treated fairly during the trial.

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