SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The new, high-profile attorney in the corruption scandal that snared Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and State Sen. Leland Yee did not mince words when he criticized the government’s case.
Chow and Yee are two of the 29 defendants swept up in coordinated raids two weeks ago. Most of the defendants appeared in front of a federal judge on Tuesday. Yee pleaded not guilty to the charges through his attorney.
Tony Serra, Chow’s new attorney, has a long, colorful history here in the Bay Area. At almost 80 years old, Serra is still looking for a good fight.
“I’m anti-government. I’m anti-over-reaching government. I’m anti-undercover spying activities. I’m against what I’ll call agent provocateurs that infiltrate groups for five years and instigate crime themselves. It’s reminiscent of the 60s,” Serra told reporters on Tuesday.
The civil rights lawyer thinks Chow is the best fight he has seen in a decade.
“Because of a number of factors,” Serra said. “First one is he’s the rare commodity in the criminal justice system who is innocent, not merely presumed innocent.”
Serra has been front and center on some very well-known, anti-government fights. He has represented the likes of Black Panther founder Huey Newton, Kathleen Soliah of the Symbionese Liberation Army, along with Ellie Nesler, who shot and killed her son’s molester.
Other clients represented by Serra include numerous members of the Hells Angels, and “Brownie Mary,” a medical marijuana pioneer who baked and handed out pot brownies to AIDS patients.
Serra has done prison time himself, after being sentenced 10 months in 2005 for failing to pay takes in protest of the Iraq War.
Outside court, Serra was claiming that at no time did Chow participate in a crime and called it entrapment.
“The government created the crime. The government financed the crime and the government ensnared my client by their affirmative acts,” Serra said.
Serra also said Shrimp Boy wants his day in court, in front of a jury.
“We will put the government rightfully on trial. We believe there’s all kinds of malfeasance. We believe that we will bring that all out in the ultimate jury trial,” Serra said.
Serra also called the case “unadulterated racism” on the part of the government. Yee and Chow are Chinese. Keith Jackson, who was charged with selling guns and drugs, along with being part of a murder-for-hire plot, is African-American.