Ed Jew's attorney moves to quit defense

One of suspended Supervisor Ed Jew’s attorneys is quitting the high-profile criminal case that has the rookie politician fighting nine felony counts brought against him by the district attorney for allegedly lying about where he lived in order to run for office.

Jew’s attorney Bill Fazio filed a motion Wednesday morning with the San Francisco Superior Court requesting permission to quit. A superior court judge will hold a hearing on the request Friday morning. Fazio’s checking out could result in a postponement of the trial’s Oct. 26 start date.

Fazio declined to comment on the specifics of why he wants off the case, but said it was due to “irreconcilable differences.”

“Mr. Jew and I have entered into an area of conflict which prevents me from continuing to represent him as his attorney,” the motion said.

In the case in which Fazio has been representing Jew, prosecutors argue that the District 4 supervisor did not live in a home at 28th Avenue in the Sunset district as he claimed, but instead was living in Burlingame.

Last month, Jew declined to accept a plea agreement from the District Attorney’s Office. Also last month, Fazio won a motion to postpone the trial start date from Sept. 28, and, at the time, indicated Jew needed some convincing to agree to the delay.

Fazio has said that prosecutors have been “piling the evidence on me like I’ve never seen before in 30 years of practice,” and that he needs to comb through “9,000 pages” of evidence and review a list of 86 potential witnesses.

Fazio has defended Jew only in the state’s case since June. Jew is now shopping around for Fazio’s replacement, according to attorney Steven Gruel, who is representing Jew in other legal battles.

Federal prosecutors have charged Jew with mail fraud in connection with an alleged bribery scheme where he demanded cash from local business owners in exchange for making their city permit trouble disappear.

Mayor Gavin Newsom has suspended Jew from his board seat and charged him with official misconduct for allegedly violating the City Charter by not living in the district he represents. Jew will undergo misconduct hearings before the

Ethics Commission and face a Board of Supervisors vote on his removal.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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