sheriff campaign scandal

Santa Clara County DA Accused of ‘Playing With Unclean Hands' in Sheriff Campaign Scandal

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Santa Clara’s district attorney is accused of committing a crime while trying to prove the sheriff’s office broke the law.

This accusation comes from defense attorney's in the high profile case where the sheriff's office is accused of trading gun permits for political donations. At the hearing Thursday, the defense said District Attorney Jeff Rosen crossed the line by leaking grand jury transcripts to the press.

The hearing was to determine if the DA’s office should be recused from prosecuting the case, and whether to seal the grand jury transcripts, which had already been leaked. Both motions were denied. 

Defense lawyers however, say the DA committed a crime, and they're determined to prove it. 

At the center of the case is Sheriff’s Captain James Jensen, and prominent attorney Chris Schumb.

They’re among a group of men charged with requesting lofty donations to the sheriff’s political campaign in return for CCW’s - or permits to carry concealed weapons.

“We expect to file more charges against more individuals in the coming weeks,” said Rosen after the grand jury indictments on Aug. 31.

But in court, Defense Lawyer Joseph Wall said this about Rosen, “I believe he’s playing with unclean hands.”

He cited Rosen's personal relationship with Schumb, a relationship he says turned vindictive.

“I don’t try my cases to the press, like mr. Rosen,” Wall said.

Although the judge refused to recuse the DA’s office from the case, the defense lawyer said he’ll call Rosen and his subordinate to the stand during trial. Which could mean the DA facing cross examination by his own employee.

“Somebody is going to be held accountable,”Jensen’s lawyer Harry Stern said.

He is appealing the judge’s decision blocking a request to have the attorney general investigate who leaked secret grand jury transcripts to a local paper.

“There was a crime committed,” Stern said. “There was a leak, and in my view, the evidence, it was by the DA’s office.” 

In a statement, the DA's office said, “The Santa Clara County DA’s Office will continue to fairly and fully prosecute this case.”

The sheriff herself has not been charged, but some have raised questions about why she plead the 5th to the grand jury.

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