On Wednesday, San Francicso Mayor Ed Lee characterized the corruption accusations coming from Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and his attorneys as “orangutans trying to deflect attention.”
Chow, indicted on multiple charges in April 2014–including firearms trafficking, money laundering to murder for hire and drug distribution–had his attorneys, J. Tony Serra and Curtis Briggs, file documents on Tuesday stating that U.S. attorney’s office selectively targeted Chow despite the FBI investigation of numerous politicians and local civil rights leaders. The attorneys are seeking a “motion to dismiss for selective prosecution.”
The leaders named in the documents include Lee, Board of Supervisors President London Breed, Supervisor Malia Cohen, former Supervisor Amos Brown and NAACP official the Rev. Arnold Townsend. The documents allege that Lee “took substantial bribes in exchange for political favors,” according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
Lee responded, “It’s sad they have to draw me into this. This is not the way we run city government. I’ve been associated with city government for 21 years, and we do things the right way.” CBS San Francisco reported that Lee’s re-election campaign spokesman, P.J. Johnston, said on Tuesday, “While it appears others may have tried to engage or ensnare Mayor Lee and any number of other people in their own wrongdoing, there’s absolutely nothing in today’s filing by Raymond Chow’s attorneys that suggests that Mayor Lee himself or his 2011 campaign did anything wrong or inappropriate.”
District Attorney George Gascón and City Attorney Dennis Herrera have not responded to Chow’s efforts; Gascón spokesman Alex Bastian, said, “We can neither confirm nor deny the investigation,” while Matt Dorsey, speaking for Herrera, echoed, “No comment.”
The Chronicle reported that sources confirm an investigation of the civic leaders has commenced.
Chow’s attorneys said his association with the Chinese Free Masons and his “outspoken and open dialogue relating to past criminal activity and ties, and his increasing legitimate political influence” triggered law enforcement targeting him. They also allege that U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag eschewed prosecuting the other civic officials because of their power and “perceived negative sociopolitical consequences.”