U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer ruled on Monday that the government’s evidence in the case against state Sen. Leland Yee must be kept secret until further notice, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Breyer is concerned that if the information is made public, undercover agents could be compromised and other individuals who were not a part of any criminal activity could be named.
Breyer wrote, “Such disclosure risks not only bodily harm to undercover agents, but reputational harm to individuals who would be collateral damage.”
Breyer’s decision was protested by a lawyer for Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a reputed gangland figure. J. Tony Serra, Chow’s lawyer, asserted that he should have the option of revealing evidence so he could fight the government’s charges.
Because of Breyer’s decision, defense lawyers cannot make public the evidence they receive from prosecutors, although future evidence contained in publicly filed court documents may not be affected.
Serra was alone in his protest; the other lawyers eschewed joining him, according to the Mercury News, but some media echoed his complaint.
The charges against Chow include gun trafficking, conspiracy, and money laundering. The indictment against him includes Yee, who is accused of taking bribes for political favors.
In July, federal prosecutors are expected to update the indictment against Yee and the other defendants with new racketeering charges.