George Shirakawa Jr.’s county-provided attorney made a motion Thursday to seal grand jury transcripts that led to the former county supervisor’s indictment. A hearing is set for 1:30pm Monday in Judge Griffin Bonini’s courtroom.
Since the documents remain public for the time being, San Jose Inside has decided to publish the George Shirakawa Jr. grand jury transcripts in their entirety. (It is a large file, so please be patient as it loads.)
Jay Rorty, representing Shirakawa through the Indigent Defense Counsel Office (IDO), argues in his motion that media coverage of the transcripts, first reported Metro and San Jose Inside, could prevent his client from receiving a fair trial. He also argues that the transcripts should never have been made public in the first place.
“Based on the sequence of events in this case, it appears as though the grand jury remains under seal in spite of the fact that it was leaked to the media,” Rorty wrote. “A Sealing Order is necessary to mitigate the harm that has already been done to Mr. Shirakawa as a result of this leak.”
The transcripts were never leaked, as Rorty claims. Metro/San Jose Inside reviewed the documents the morning of Nov. 8 inside the clerk’s office at the Hall of Justice. Later that day, in the same building, Shirakawa was sentenced to a year in jail for his pilfering of campaign funds and perjury.
Shirakawa, who is currently in the infirmary at Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, according to jail’s inmate locator, now faces a new trial on one charge of false personation. The former supervisor’s DNA was found on mailers that portrayed Magdalena Carrasco as a communist during her 2010 City Council race against Xavier Campos, a close friend and former staffer to Shirakawa.
The mailers targeted Vietnamese voters in East San Jose and were designed to appear as if they came from Carrasco’s campaign. She ended up losing the District 5 primary to Campos by 20 votes, before falling in the runoff election by fewer than 400 votes.
The grand jury transcripts raise new questions about what role Campos and his sister, State Assemblywoman Nora Campos, may have had in the political mail fraud scandal. Xavier Campos invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering prosecutors’ questions, but later took an interview with NBC’s Damian Trujillo to deny any involvement in the mail fraud.
In grand jury testimony, Nora Campos was accused of threatening her little brother’s political opponents, as well as possibly paying Shirakawa $5,000 to produce the illegal mailer.