Laurie Smith

Former Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith Found Guilty in Civil Corruption Trial

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Former Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith was found guilty Thursday in her civil corruption trial.

Smith, who announced her immediate retirement earlier this week, was found guilty on six civil counts of corruption and willful misconduct, according to the court.

The charges were related to showing favoritism in handing out concealed weapons permits to generous donors to her campaign as well as accepting gifts, such as a suite at a San Jose Sharks game. One count of misconduct had to do with her not cooperating with an investigation into an inmate who was severely injured while being transported to jail.

The charges were first issued by a grand jury in December. A San Mateo County judge and deputies were brought in to avoid a conflict of interest when the trial started last month.

Former Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith was found guilty of civil corruption and misconduct Thursday and NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Legal Analyst Dean Johnson, who breaks it all down.

"We are gratified that the jury considered the evidence from our investigation and found all the allegations against the Sheriff to be true," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the next Sheriff and the honest and hard-working sheriff’s deputies to serve our community with honor and integrity."

Smith, a six-term sheriff, worked at the department for nearly 50 years. The guilty verdict means she is now barred from holding any public office in the future.

"The actions of a few people are not a reflection of the great work that our deputies do every day," Acting Santa Clara County Sheriff Ken Binder said in a statement. "The men and women of the Sheriff’s Office are looking forward to new beginnings, with the Sheriff election coming up next week."

Back in March, Smith announced she would not run for re-election and planned to retire from her position at the end of her term in January.

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