(Jen Siska/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Chow trial breaks for two weeks

The trial of alleged Chinatown crime boss Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow will be on break for the next several weeks, Judge Charles Breyer said in federal court Tuesday.

The trial, which opened earlier this month, has been centered on an undercover FBI agent known as David Jordan for much of the last few weeks and is expected to continue with his testimony when it starts back up Dec. 7.

In Judge Breyer’s U.S. District courtroom, the prosecution on Tuesday mapped out how long the rest of its case is expected to last and gave possible hints about who they will call to the stand next.

Federal prosecutor William Frentzen said his side plans to complete its case before the middle of December. In that time, they expect to call several former Chow associates to the stand, a Chinese fraternal organization expert, several experts on illicit alcohol and cigarettes and several witnesses in relation to the killing of Allen Yeung.

Prosecutors also plan to play the audio from several wire taps they conducted in the investigation.

Tony Serra said the defense expects its case to span five or six weeks, but he did not say who they planned to call to the stand other than Chow himself.

While it still has months to go, the case is expected to be speedier than planned, since both sides have been cooperating in ways they hadn’t until now, especially when it comes to routine matters that can bog down a trial if both sides don’t agree or stipulate to a set of facts.

“We changed our hardcore position with regard to stipulations,” Serra said Tuesday.

The federal racketeering and murder case against Chow, the alleged dragon head of a Chinatown fraternal organization, Ghee Kung Tong, has rested on linking disparate pieces of evidence that put Chow at the center of the enterprise. That evidence includes everything from the testimony of former associates to wiretaps and the words of FBI agents on the case.

But the framing of the case in court has been attacked by defense lawyers Curtis Briggs and Tony Serra in an attempt to cast the investigation’s illicit activity as something Chow didn’t know about and that, in many cases, was created by the FBI.

The agent on the stand, who has been testifying in a closed court to protect his safety, has not been identified to the public.

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