You can always count on a criminal defense attorney to spin a silver lining out of the darkest, most menacing cloud.
Steven Gruel found one Thursday afternoon, a few hours after being notified that federal prosecutors had filed a charge (.pdf) of mail fraud against his client, San Francisco Supervisor Ed Jew.
“At a minimum,” Gruel said, “I think what this does is open some sort of dialogue with the U.S. attorney’s office about what’s been going on for the last four months.”
“I think people have been wondering,” he said.
That federal prosecutors were probing Jew’s conduct in connection with an apparent bribe paid by a tapioca drink shop is no surprise. FBI agents raided Jew’s City Hall office, his homes in Burlingame and San Francisco and his flower shop four months ago. Jew is also fending off felony charges from the San Francisco district attorney and the San Francisco city attorney’s attempt to get him removed from office, both based on allegations that he lied about his place of residence while running for office.
But Gruel said several weeks have passed since he’s discussed the case with Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wang, and Thursday’s complaint caught him by surprise.
“There has not been a free flow of conversations,” Gruel said.
Wang declined to comment publicly about the case.
— Matthew Hirsch