An artist's rendering depicts defendant Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, right, answering questions from his attorney, Tony Serra, in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. (Vicki Behringer/Special to S.F. Examiner)

As ‘Shrimp Boy’ trial prepares to wrap up, defense alleges mistreatment in court

The trial of an alleged Chinatown crime boss who says he is reformed should come to a close by next week, as his defense team wraps up their case in federal court this week.

Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow’s defense team said in court Monday they expect to hear from their last witnesses Tuesday in his murder, conspiracy and racketeering trial. Closing arguments in the controversial and widely publicized case are expected to be heard next Monday, Jan. 4.

The final witnesses were set to begin testifying Monday, but a sick juror prevented the trial from proceeding.

Chow, who testified last week that he’s a reformed man who did nothing wrong, is alleged to have led a Chinatown criminal organization known as the Ghee Kung Tong, which Chow contends is a fraternal organization. He was arrested and indicted in March 2014 along with more than 20 others in federal raids that also nabbed former State Sen. Leland Yee.

Tuesday’s witnesses are expected to include a Marysville police officer, an inmate in County Jail and a Chinatown restaurateur who bought liquor from the FBI.

Meanwhile, the defense has been having increasingly tense relations with U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer. Defense attorneys Curtis Briggs and Tony Serra filed a motion Monday for a mistrial, alleging judicial misconduct.

“After weeks of hostile treatment by the judge, ‘Shrimp Boy’s’ lawyers have requested a mistrial due to pervasive judicial impropriety.  Upon receipt of the motion, the judge immediately slashed Shrimp Boy’s witness list down to eight people compared to the prosecution’s 46 witnesses. The motions claim that was in retaliation,” said a defense press release.

The motion alleges the court treated Briggs wrong when he was cross examining two FBI agents. Briggs, says the motion, was not allowed to ask the agents questions the defense thinks were critical to the case.

“I have never seen such hostile treatment of a lawyer in my career,” said Serra in the motion.

In a supplemental filing, Briggs says that Judge Breyer was “assuming the role of prosecutor, …and becoming so hostile toward Chow, so much so that Chow’s fair trial rights are in question.”

Such tactics are not new in the case. For instance, the defense initially tried to get the case dismissed when they argued that their client was being selectively prosecuted.

Breyer on Monday said that he will rule of the selective prosecution theory if Chow is found guilty.

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