Federal prosecutors, alleging that former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson is “far from an innocent lured into criminal conduct,” have asked a U.S. judge to delay consideration of Jackson’s bid for information about FBI undercover agents.
Jackson, 49, a political consultant, is one of 28 defendants in a corruption and organized-crime case that includes charges against suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, and Chinatown association leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow.
He faces 22 criminal charges, including racketeering conspiracy, soliciting campaign contributions for Yee in exchange for political favors, cocaine conspiracy, gun dealing and a murder-for hire plot.
Jackson, a San Francisco resident, presided over the city’s Board of Education in 1997.
In a request filed with U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer last month, Jackson’s lawyers asked for an order requiring prosecutors to turn over records of an undercover agent who investigated the bribery portion of the case. They also asked for the identities of all of the seven or more undercover agents who had contact with Jackson.
The defense motion alleged that the bribery investigator, known as Undercover Employee 4773, was investigated by the FBI for possible financial misconduct. It said information about that probe could be relevant to “potential defenses of entrapment and government misconduct” for Jackson in the not-yet scheduled trial.
Breyer is scheduled to consider the motion at a Sept. 24 hearing in his San Francisco courtroom. Eighteen other defendants have joined in the request.
In a response filed on Wednesday, prosecutors disputed Jackson’s claim that he may need the information for an entrapment defense.
“Jackson himself proposed, facilitated and participated in the illegal conduct he now characterizes as outrageous,” prosecutors wrote.
He did so “out of a desire to further his political influence, further his business as a political consultant, promote political candidates that he perceived he could profit from and to be paid as much as possible by UCE 4773 and other undercover agents,” the federal attorneys alleged.
Prosecutors conceded in their response that a November 2012 FBI wiretap application stated “there has been an internal FBI program review related to the financing and financial record-keeping of the undercover program under which UCE 4773 was operating.”
But they said there was no evidence in the documents disclosed thus far to support Jackson’s claim that the agent was removed from the case for financial misconduct.
The agent posed as an Atlanta businessman and was introduced to Jackson by the lead agent in the case, who was posing as a Mafia member.
The prosecutors said they plan to comply with their legal duty to provide the defense with any information about undercover agents who will testify at the trial that would be helpful to the defense.
But they said it is premature to say which agents will testify, because it is not known how many defendants will go to trial, as opposed to negotiating plea agreements. They asked Breyer to delay consideration of Jackson’s motion.
The prosecutors also said they plan to argue at a later point that the agents should be allowed to testify under pseudonyms, with their true names kept confidential, because of potential danger to their safety.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News