Suspended San Francisco Supervisor Ed Jew appeared briefly in federal court today for a hearing at which his bail was kept at $1 million and his next court date was postponed to Oct. 24.
Jew, 47, faces a federal criminal mail fraud charge in connection with an alleged scheme to extort a $40,000 bribe from tapioca drink store operators seeking city permits.
The federal case is one of four probes in which Jew is embroiled.
The others are state criminal charges of lying about his residence when he ran for office last year; a bid by the city attorney's office to file a civil lawsuit seeking his removal from office; and misconduct charges
pending before the city's Ethics Commission.
Jew, the owner of a Chinatown flower shop, was elected last November to represent the city's Sunset District.
Mayor Gavin Newsom, who lodged the misconduct charges, suspended him as supervisor on Sept. 25 until those charges are resolved and appointed budget analyst Carmen Chu, 29, as an interim replacement.
The $1 million bail bond in the federal case was set by U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Laporte in San Francisco at Jew's arraignment on the mail fraud on Sept. 21.
At today's hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Li-Ming Wang told Laporte he was satisfied with the posting ofproperty owned by Jew and his wife at 2626 Sutter St. to meet the bail requirement. Defense attorney
Steven Gruel said the property was recently appraised at $1.5 million.
Laporte also accepted an agreement by prosecution and defense to postpone the next hearing in the case from Oct. 11 to Oct. 24.
That session will be either a preliminary hearing on the fraud charge or an arraignment on a grand jury indictment if one is issued by then.
A stipulation filed by the attorneys says they agree that “in light of the multiple legal proceedings involving defendant Jew, defense counsel will require the additional time for effective preparation.”
The stipulation also says the delay will give the parties a chance “to explore the possibility of a pre-indictment resolution,” which could be a plea agreement.
But outside of court, Gruel said that language was merely “boilerplate” and declined to comment on any possible negotiations on an agreement.
Gruel said he is holding off for the time being on any plans to file a federal civil lawsuit challenging a possible lack of due process in the Ethics Commission proceedings. He said he will decide whether to file such a lawsuit after the commission announces later this month what procedures will used in that case.
Ethics Commission executive director John St. Croix said he expects the commission to meet by the end of the month “to determine protocol and parameters,” but he is waiting until the commission has secured outside lawyers before scheduling the meeting.
— Bay City News