Ed Jew's attorney: 'He didn’t do it'

After pleading not guilty Wednesday to five felony charges for mail fraud, bribery and extortion, suspended Supervisor Ed Jew was outside of federal court smiling even as he faces three other legal battles waged against him for allegedly lying about where he lived to hold office.

A federal grand jury indicted Jew on Tuesday on two counts of mail fraud, two counts of bribery and one count of extortion for allegedly soliciting cash bribes totaling $84,000 from local businesses in exchange for permit help.

On his way into federal court Wednesday morning, Jew was served with legal papers, giving him 30 days to respond to the civil lawsuit City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed in court on Nov. 1 to oust Jew from office for violating city residency requirements.

Jew has also been charged with nine felony counts by the District Attorney’s Office for allegedly lying about where he lived to run for office. Prosecutors say he was residing in Burlingame.

And Jew is undergoing official misconduct proceedings at City Hall, charged with violating city residency requirements.

“Ed has been holding up amazingly well,” Jew’s attorney Steven Gruel said outside of federal court. Referring to the four legal battles, Gruel said, “I don’t know how an individual can take that kind of beating and still come up and look you folks in the eye and say, ‘Hey, I’m doing OK.’”

A smiling Jew said his resilience comes from “the genes from my grandfather.”

“He came over here in 1913, worked hard, and in 1927 opened a flower shop that my wife and I are now managing,” Jew said.

The indictment alleges that Jew got involved in a dispute between a Quickly drink shop, part of a chain, and a rival Wonderful Foods drink shop next door on Irving Street. He then extorted money from both as well as other Quickly franchises in exchange for helping them obtain the necessary city permits.

“He didn’t do it,” said Gruel, who would not divulge details of Jew’s defense.

Evidence in the federal case includes taped conversations of meetings with Quickly representatives in which Jew allegedly attempts to extort money. While under FBI surveillance, Jew allegedly accepted $40,000 in cash as partial payment.

“This case, folks, is going to come down to the tapes,” Gruel said. “There are going to be series of tapes and I think what you are going to hear are tapes that are going to support Supervisor Jew, not incriminate him.”

Jew is scheduled to return to federal court on Nov. 30. The state’s criminal trial is expected to start in February 2008. The Ethics Commission, charged with conducting the misconduct hearing, is expected to determine on Nov. 30 whether to hold the hearing at all, after receiving legal arguments from both sides.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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