Having to review hours of FBI taped conversations and nearly 2,000 pages of evidence, suspended Supervisor Ed Jew’s attorney was granted more time to prepare for the criminal trial that has Jew fighting public corruption charges.
Without objection from prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston on Friday morning granted a postponement of the hearing to set a trial start date and told both parties to show up in federal court Jan. 18.
It was Jew’s first federal court appearance since pleading not guilty to five felony charges handed down by a federal grand jury, which accused Jew of trying to extort $84,000 in bribes from local business owners.
Jew’s attorney Steven Gruel said he has received 1,800 pages of evidence and 14 audio tapes, which he needs time to review. The audio tapes capture three hoursof conversations and taped phone calls, of which "most" are in Cantonese, Gruel said.
Federal prosecutors have drawn from these tapes to accuse Jew of soliciting cash bribes from local business owners of Quickly tapioca-drink franchise stores.
"I think this case is going to come down to the tapes and I think the tapes are favorable to supervisor Jew. I am not going to go into detail of that," Gruel said, suggesting that what federal prosecutors have released of the tapes may have been taken out of context, incomplete or translated incorrectly.
The federal case is one of four legal battles Jew is fighting.
The city attorney has filed a civil lawsuit against Jew to oust him from office, accusing him of violating the city residency requirements.
The district attorney has charged Jew with nine felonies for allegedly lying about where he lived in order to run for office.
Jew is also involved in official misconduct proceedings at City Hall that could result in his permanent removal from office. On Friday, the Ethics Commission rejected Gruel’s motion to dismiss these proceedings and directed him to file legal arguments by Jan 8 on the parameters of misconduct hearing parameters, such as how has the burden of proof. A postponement of the proceedings until the City Attorney’s lawsuit is resolved is possible and under discussion by Gruel and the city attorney.