By Joe Vazquez

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Fifteen months after he was indicted by the feds, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow is now headed to trial.

A hearing Tuesday morning before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer that was scheduled to be about evidence suppression, pivoted into an agreement among attorneys to begin the trial.

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The judge set jury selection for October 19th with testimony scheduled to begin on November 2nd.

The judge ordered Chow and seven other defendants to stand trial together. Collectively, they face charges ranging from racketeering to money laundering to drug and weapons trafficking.

Four other defendants, including former State Senator Leland Yee, pled guilty last week. Yee was not charged in the organized-crime conspiracy. Former San Francisco school board Keith Jackson was, but prosecutors will drop that charge against him in exchange for his guilty plea in the corruption conspiracy.

Prosecutors told the judge Chow’s case will largely rely on the testimony of an undercover informant.

While the trial is expected to last two to three months, the prosecutor said he believes it will be a “brief trial with one undercover guy playing recordings.”

Chow wore an orange prison jumpsuit with cuffs and leg shackles. He smiled broadly and gave two thumbs up to his attorney when he arrived.

Chow was previously convicted of racketeering and gun charges and admitting to being a gang member. His attorneys maintain he turned his life around after being released from prison in 2003 and is innocent of the current charges. He has been held without bail since his arrest in March 2014.

Outside the Federal Building after the hearing, defense attorney Tony Serra said, “We’re delighted we have a jury trial to commence on Oct.  19.  We look forward to our client being exonerated.

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“Our client…will not consider pleading and will testify on his own behalf,” Serra said.

Serra said Chow’s attorneys know there have been negotiations between prosecutors and some defense attorneys and expect that at least half of the Chow’s co-defendants in the trial may reach plea bargains.

“But we don’t fear that,” said Serra, saying that Chow’s attorneys don’t think he could be harmed by any possible testimony from former co-defendants.

Serra said Chow lived on the charity of others while trying to do good works in the Chinatown community and “accepted relatively small amounts of money” from people later identified as undercover agents. But the money was not accepted in exchange for any illegal activities, Serra said.

Also at today’s hearing, Breyer denied a motion by all defendants remaining in the case for suppression of the use of evidence from wiretaps and secret recordings by the FBI agents. The motion, which was filed under seal and has not been made public, was originally submitted by Yee’s and Jackson’s attorneys and then joined by all the other defendants.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ralph Frentzen told the judge the main prosecution evidence in the case will be the recordings and wiretaps, to be presented by the lead FBI agent, who allegedly posed as a Mafia member.

When several defense attorneys indicated they may want to file renewed challenges to the recordings, Breyer said he had directed them to submit challenges by an earlier deadline and told them, “Anything you could have claimed has now been adjudicated.”

But the judge said he will consider allowing more disputes about the recordings if the attorneys can show they have obtained information not previously available to support a challenge.

In addition to Chow, the defendants in the trial will be George Nieh, 45, of San Francisco; Kevin Siu, 31, of Daly City; Alan Chiu, 59, of San Francisco; Kongphet Chanthavong, 37, of San Francisco; Andi Li, 41, of South San Francisco; and Leslie Yun, 43, and her husband, Yat Wa Pau, also known as James Pau, 55, of Oakland.

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