After more than two years defending convicted murderer and Chinatown gang leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, his team of lawyers have asked to be removed from the controversial case.
Chow, the leader of the Chee Kung Tong association in Chinatown, was convicted in January of 162 organized crime counts, including conspiracy to racketeer, the 2006 murder of a rival, money laundering and conspiracy to transport stolen liquor and cigarettes.
His sentencing by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has been delayed while his defense attorneys file post-trial motions.
The request to withdraw because of “irreconcilable differences” was filed with Breyer on Monday by criminal defense attorney Tony Serra and fellow defense lawyers Curtis Briggs and Tyler Smith. They asked for a Friday hearing on the motion.
“The present state of the relationship makes it impossible for the defense team to proceed further on behalf of the defendant,” the attorneys wrote in their two-page request, which gave no further details.
In a statement to the San Francisco Examiner, Briggs said he and the other defense attorneys wanted to hand the reigns in Chow’s case to appellate lawyers.
“This is a time when communication just be seamless so as to win the reversal he deserves. We are trial lawyers and it is time for us to let go and allow appellate lawyers to win his freedom,” Briggs said.
Last week, Breyer denied a motion by the defense team for a new trial for Chow. Several other post-trial motions are pending.
“Even though the public may not realize it, this is the most significant case in the history of San Francisco and Chow’s conviction illustrates how our elite politicians influence the judiciary, the FBI, and the US Attorney,” Briggs said of the controversial case that has dragged politicians and others into its orbit. “Chow is but a tiny piece of the landscape but an innocent part.”
Bay City News Service contributed to this report.