'Shrimp Boy' Chow’s plea for disclosure of docs in court denied 

Efforts by the lawyers of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and a group of news organizations to prevent the government from barring defense lawyers from sharing court documents with the public have failed.

Judge Charles Breyer Monday granted the Federal Attorney’s request for a protective order preventing the public sharing of all discovery materials given to defense attorneys in the case Leland Yee corruption case.

The protective order was requested last week by U.S. attorneys prosecuting the case who argue that evidence taken during the course of the investigation, which will be handed over for use in the case, could reveal the identities of undercover agents, endanger witnesses and possibly reveal ongoing investigations. Therefore, defense lawyers should be prevented from sharing such information with the public, according to prosecutors.

Redaction is not an option due to the immense amount of data, the motion pointed out.

The deal that goes along with the protective order, signed by nearly all defendants, said defense lawyers would be promptly given materials from the case and in full if they agreed to keep that information out of the public eye.

According to the judge’s order, “The government represents that approximately 10,000 pages of reports and two 1 terabyte hard drives containing digital audio and video recordings have already been disclosed to the 24 defendants who have agreed to the protective order.”

Chow’s lawyers – Tony Serra and Curtis Briggs, among others – argued the protective order is part of the government’s continued effort to besmirch their client’s name, following his March arrest.

“The protective order negotiated between the government and all of the other defendants in this case is not only practical, it is lawful. Defendant Chow cites no authority for the proposition that he has a First Amendment right to disclose information that is properly the subject of a protective order. Such disclosure risks not only bodily harm to undercover agents, but reputational harm to individuals who would be collateral damage,” wrote judge Breyer in his order.

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
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