The Buzz: ‘Shrimp Boy’ off the hook for legal fees, attorneys say

04/14/2014 12:00 AM

04/14/2014 2:13 PM

An undercover FBI agent spent thousands building a case against Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, but Chow’s lawyers say his defense against the government’s charges won’t cost him a cent.

An FBI affidavit says an agent repeatedly paid Chow money that, according to the government, bought Chow’s blessing for the agent to work with “Shrimp Boy’s” associates to launder money and move stolen liquor and cigarettes.

Now Chow’s attorneys – including J. Tony Serra, a legendary lawyer who has represented controversial figures such as Black Panthers founder Huey Newton – say they will represent him for free.

During a Thursday news conference, Serra underscored that fact as a sign of Chow’s innocence. Couldn’t a powerful crime figure, Serra asked, afford a lawyer?

“We serve Raymond because we believe in his innocence. This is a pro bono cause for us,” Serra said. “If he was a real gangster, he would have real money. He does not.”

A similar situation applies to Keith Jackson, an associate of suspended Sen. Leland Yee who stands accused of conspiring to sell drugs and guns and setting up a paid hit. The court appointed prominent trial lawyer James Brosnahan to handle Jackson’s defense.

– Jeremy B. White


BILL WATCH

Two high-profile measures that embody the “income disparity” credo of Democrats in this election year wound up last week on the California Chamber of Commerce’s list of “job-killer” bills. Assembly Bill 1522 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez would require employers to provide workers with paid sick leave. Senate Bill 935 by Sen. Mark Leno would boost the state’s minimum wage, scheduled to rise from $8 an hour to $10 under a bill passed last year, to $13 and tie future increases to the cost of living.

– Dan Walters


WORTH REPEATING

“These injuries and loss of life are made all the more poignant by the fact that these students were poised on the edge of an exciting time full of possibility.”

STATE SCHOOLS CHIEF TOM TORLAKSON, on the crash in Orland that killed five students.

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