US Attorney calls Chow’s claims ‘fantastical’

Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a self-described Chinatown gangster, claims he has been targeted by the U.S. Attorney's Office and is the victim of "selective prosecution." (Jen Siska/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow’s claim that he was unfairly prosecuted while others who are politically connected were passed over is a baseless “conspiracy theory” meant to stir up media attention, said a motion filed Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Chow has failed to produce a scintilla of evidence to support his claim that the decision to prosecute him is motivated by discriminatory purpose on the part of the prosecutors,” said the motion in the federal racketeering case against Chow.

“[Chow] offers absolutely no support for his fantastical theory that agents and prosecutors have charged him with crimes not because they have powerful evidence that he committed those crimes, but because they have some vendetta against him,” the motion said.

Lawyers for Chow, a self-described former Chinatown gangster, filed an explosive motion Aug. 4 requesting the racketeering case against him be dropped for, among other things, selective prosecution.

The defense’s motion alleged U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag charged Chow while letting numerous public officials who were caught up in FBI surveillance off the hook.

“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 Serra, Curtis Briggs and Greg Bentley.

“Melinda Haag carved out from persecution those who committed crime and have more overwhelming evidence against them than many of the charged defendants,” Chow’s defense team said.

Chow’s motion also contends that Annemarie Conroy, who is in charge of external affairs for the U.S. Attorney’s Office with connections to city politicians, “used her position of influence to cull political figures out of the prosecution, and selectively prosecute others.”

All of these contentions are attacked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office filing, which claims the defense’s argument of selective prosecution is baseless. The motion, which asks the judge in the case to deny Chow’s request for dismissal and an expanded access to discovery materials, says Chow’s lawyers failed to make their case for selective prosecution.

If there had been selective prosecution, former state Sen. Leland Yee and Keith Jackson, both San Francisco politicos, would not have been charged, according to the government’s filing.

The government’s motion contends that to argue selective prosecution, the defense must prove others in similar situations were not charged and that the charges were based on motives that are not permissible.

People who were in similar situations as Chow were indicted, according to the motion, and Chow was not indicted for exercising his right to freedom of speech, as his lawyers have argued.

Chow’s motion contends the publicity of his face in San Francisco was making others jealous and that Chow’s attempts to profit from selling the rights to his life story angered some in the FBI.

“A combination of jealousy and pride, qualities usually not associated with entire massively funded bureaucracies, [and] Chow’s potential Hollywood success was too much for FBI and Northern District leaders,” the defense’s filing said. It also quotes Yee as saying Chow’s freedom was “kicking sand” in the face of the FBI.

In March 2014, FBI raids across the Bay Area detained more than 20 people, including Yee, former school board member Jackson and Chow. Yee and Jackson have since pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.

The indictment against the men alleges Chow headed an organized gang in Chinatown and that Yee and Jackson committed a series of crimes to further Yee’s political ambitions.

The indictment and subsequent court filings have allegedly implicated numerous Bay Area politicians who were caught up in the investigation.

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