Laurie Smith

Civil Corruption Trial of Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith Now in Hands of Jury

The jury is set to return Friday for deliberations

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The civil corruption trial against Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith is now in the hands of the jury.

Though not a criminal trial, it's being run like one. So, the sheriff will serve no jail time with a guilty verdict, but she is fighting to keep her job until the very end. 

Smith sat in the gallery as the prosecutor presented his closing arguments Thursday. The prosecutor was brought in from San Francisco County to avoid a conflict of interest. He told the jury that Smith was corrupt, both in the process she created for issuing concealed carry gun permits, and for intentionally failing to report a gift. 

The prosecutors contend the permits were given mainly to VIPs, like athletes and big campaign donors and supporters.

“I hope for an ending where we can stop the political favors like this from happening,” said trial witness Reverend Jethroe Moore II.

He was one of those VIPs who was given a concealed carry permit. He leads the local chapter of the NAACP.

He had been a very vocal ally of the sheriff, but claims that after he didn't endorse her for re-election, his gun permit was not renewed, and his calls were no longer being returned. 

Moore was asked if he thought his CCW was not renewed because of his support for her opponent and said, “I really believed that. That’s what happened to me, our relationship changed dramatically.”

Moore testified in the trial saying he got a gun permit because his safety was constantly threatened by alt-right groups and said he stopped supporting the sheriff because he disagreed with how she was running the jails.

“I’m glad that changes are coming to our sheriff’s department,” he said.

The sheriff has denied all allegations.

During closing arguments, her lawyer Allen Ruby said cases are won and lost by facts, and that facts were not presented in this case.

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