Corruption Probe Target Says Agent Was Nixed
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - An undercover agent who helped "ensnare" political consultant and former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson in a corruption investigation was removed from the case and reprimanded for financial misconduct, Jackson's attorney says in a new court filing.
Jackson was arraigned this month on charges of murder for hire, wire fraud, and dealing guns and narcotics. He has pleaded not guilty and is out on bail.
The agent, identified in the federal affidavit only as UCE-4773, was introduced to Jackson in September 2011. Posing as a businessman from Atlanta, he and another agent, identified as UCE-4599, took Jackson out for meals and introduced him to other agents and confidential informants.
Attorney James Brosnahan's motion says UCE-4773's investigative work was used by the government as a basis for a wiretap request.
"In November 2012, relying primarily on UCE-4773, the government suddenly asserted its need for a wiretap, claiming that UCE-4773 was unable to 'fully penetrate the inner circles of trust' of the targets. Beyond a cursory footnote, the government failed to disclose any details regarding the pending internal probe into UCE- 4773, the 'primary undercover agent used in this branch of the investigation.' One month after the wiretap application was granted, the government removed UCE-4773 from the operation for misconduct," the attorney says.
Brosnahan's motion seeks documents on any internal review of UCE-4773's involvement in the undercover operation, his personnel file and any other information related to decision to remove UCE-4773 from the investigation.
Before he was removed from the case, UCE-4773 paid Jackson at least $37,000 in consulting fees and arranged for more than $20,000 in campaign donations to suspended California Sen. Leland Yee, also a defendant.
The FBI's five-year investigation of Jackson, Yee and Chinatown gangster Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow led to their arrest and that of 26 others in March. Chow was indicted on charges of racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes, and pleaded not guilty earlier this month. Yee pleaded not guilty to all charges of racketeering, wire fraud and conspiracy to deal in firearms.
In his motion, Brosnahan writes, "The requested discovery is pertinent to understanding why Mr. Jackson was initially targeted, and then pursued for more than three years, even after the FBI removed its lead undercover agent, UCE- 4773, for financial misconduct. Although Mr. Jackson had no criminal record, these agents resorted to extraordinary efforts to ensnare Mr. Jackson into their fabricated plots and operations, including by paying Mr. Jackson thousands of dollars for lawful consultation and advice."
He added, "The requested information is helpful to uncovering evidence relevant to impeach the testimony of UCE-4773 and other government witnesses, to potential defenses of entrapment and government misconduct, and to suppression motions."
Brosnahan is also requesting that the government reveal the identities of all agents and confidential informants who had communication with Jackson since August 1, 2010.
He said defense attorneys have already met with the government and asked for the information requested in the motion, but federal prosecutors have not produced any of it, instead advising that they file a motion to compel.