The Slatest

Shrimp Boy, Derf, Mayor Lee Among Players in San Francisco Corruption Probe

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, seen here in 2011, is accused in a new court filing of using officials in his adminsitration to collect bribes.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Documents filed Tuesday in federal court in California by defense attorneys for Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow make a number of explosive allegations against elected officials in San Francisco, accusing prosecutors of protecting “bottom feeding political types” who have allegedly escaped punishment after engaging in corruption uncovered by the investigation into Shrimp Boy’s criminal enterprise.

The San Francisco Examiner reports that Chow’s attorneys have asked for the case against him to be dropped, claiming federal authorities have engaged in “selective prosecution” by bringing charges against Chow while ignoring FBI evidence that implicates a number of government actors, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

“The government has admitted the political corruption investigation which sought to ensnare many Bay Area political figures, was instigated contrary to desire of the government; what it has not admitted is that it resulted in snagging at least a dozen bottom feeding political types,” said the filing by Chow’s legal team, which includes attorneys Tony Sera, Curtis Briggs and Greg Bentley.

The filing, which quotes from and references FBI wiretaps, body wires, phone taps, agents and sources, gives a new glimpse into the breadth and depth of the years-long FBI probe into organized crime in Chinatown and alleged political corruption in San Francisco, the Bay Area and the state.

The investigation into Shrimp Boy’s Chinatown gang empire has already resulted in California state Sen. Leland Yee pleading guilty to racketeering after he was implicated alongside Chow in a weapons trafficking scheme. Chow’s defense team now claims that a Yee associate, businessman Derf Butler, also funnelled “untraceable debit cards for clothing and trips” to San Francisco City Supervisor London Breed.

The new allegations against San Francisco’s mayor are somewhat convoluted, befitting the overall tenor of the case, which is set to result in a trials for two dozen defendants starting this month. Mayor Lee is accused of using officials in his administration, including the city’s former Human Rights Commissioner, to help solicit and “launder” bribes while Lee “knew he was taking the money illegally,” according to the Examiner.

Chow, who before his arrest was heralded by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other state leaders as an example of a reformed gang member gone straight, complained last year that court-imposed gag orders have prevented him from defending himself by disclosing what he knows about other players in the San Francisco criminal/political complex, while prosecutors have been able to make the case against him to a potential jury pool. Chow seems more than ready to talk about what he says the government already knows: that Bay Area politicians were apparently caught by the same net that snagged him but have so far been able to slip away from the consequences.