Former supervisor to stand trial in November

Former Supervisor Ed Jew is slated to stand trial in November on federal public corruption charges, after settlement talks failed to negotiate a deal.

Jew, who continues to maintain his innocence, is accused of extorting money from local business owners. On Friday, a trial date was set for Nov. 10. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Last year, the FBI conducted a sting operation on the District 4 supervisor after receiving a tip that Jew was asking for cash from owners of a Tapioca drink shop franchise in exchange for city permits.

The FBI says they have taped conversations, mostly in Mandarin, of Jew inside his Chinatown flower shop demanding as much as $80,000 from the owners and ultimately accepting $40,000 in cash as partial payment.

The FBI subsequently raided five of his properties in May 2007 and agents seized $10,000 in cash from Jew’s Burlingame home. At the time, Jew told reporters that the money was payment for a consultant to which he referred the business owners to and that he accepted half of it with plans on using it to pay for district needs.

In September, a federal grand jury indicted Jew on two counts of bribery, two counts of mail fraud and one count of extortion.

Attorney Sara Rief, standing in for Jew’s attorney Stuart Hanlon during Friday’s court appearance, said there had been “significant discussions” about reaching a deal that would have prevented a trial, but declined to discuss details.

“We believe he is innocent. They don’t,” Rief said. “So this case is going to trial.”

Rief said that Jew’s defense translated the FBI tapes and that the translation offered by prosecutors is not accurate, which she said will come to light at the trial.

Jew resigned from elected office on the Board of Supervisors in January as part of a settlement agreement with the city attorney in a separate legal proceeding brought against him. Jew had been accused of violating the city charter by not living in the district he represented, but instead living in Burlingame.

Jew did not speak to members of the media about the case Friday.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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