The jury trial of a Palo Alto lawyer accused of trying his darnedest to bribe Colma cops to get out of a third DUI arrest is set to begin today.
Richard Chae, 38, a patent attorney, allegedly offered a cop who pulled him over up to $35,000 to let him go Feb. 26. He was stopped in the 400 block of Serramonte Boulevard about 2:40 a.m., San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
The cop suspected Chae was intoxicated. According to police, he made three separate offers to get out of the arrest. He allegedly first pulled $900 out of his pocket and asked if "this could all go away." The officers declined, prompting Chae to offer $5,000, which also was rejected, and finally a whopping $35,000, Wagstaffe said.
He was arrested on charges of drunken driving and bribery, Wagstaffe said. Chae’s blood-alcohol level was 0.13, according to Wagstaffe; the legal limit is 0.08.
The patent attorney’s previous DUI convictions occurred seven and eight years ago, respectively. Chae pleaded not guilty, Wagstaffe said, and is out of custody on his own recognizance, provided he abstains from alcohol and drug use and doesn’t drive a vehicle.
Chae’s attorney, Doron Weinberg, declined to comment Friday.
Chae has a science degree from MIT and a law degree from Boston University. He was admitted to the California bar in 2003, records show.