By The Vanguard Staff
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A jury found former Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith guilty in her “impeachment” trial on all six counts of misconduct in office, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced Friday.
“Public corruption erodes confidence in government, public servants and elected leaders,” said SF DA Jenkins.
The SF DA said Smith will be removed from office after the guilty findings, although Smith attempted to retire just before the verdict to avoid the jury’s decision and formal removal. But the court denied Smith’s motion to dismiss the case and permitted the jury to reach a verdict.
“It has been a true honor to represent the People of the State of California in this important matter,” said Assistant District Attorney Gabriel Markoff, who prosecuted the case for the SF DA Office, which took over the case after the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office and California Attorney General declared a conflict of interest.
“The jury correctly found the Sheriff guilty, and I thank the jurors for their service,” added Markoff, noting Smith was found guilty of, according to a SF DA Office statement, “corruptly administering the county’s concealed carry weapon permit program by favoring powerful figures in the county and potential supporters.”
According to the prosecution, the applications of ordinary citizens gathered dust in the Sheriff Department’s files while favored political applicants were “fast-tracked” for the sought-after permits.”
The jury, said the DA, was also found guilty of “illegally accepting and covering up the use of a San Jose Sharks luxury suite, which was a gift from a permit applicant (and) failing to cooperate with a jail-oversight agency, as required by law.”
Jenkins added, the “scheme…troublesome as it involved permitting concealed carry weapons permits and placed personal favors over government process and procedure. Concealed carry weapons permits and permitting processes exist to keep us safe and this scheme jeopardized that safety.”