STOCKTON (CBS SF) — The day before Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva goes to court for the first time, audio recordings and pictures connected with the case from Silva’s phone were made public by his attorney.
Silva is charged with illegally recording a confidential communication at a strip poker game and providing alcohol to teenagers under the age of 21, including one minor.
According to an arrest report, the alleged crimes happened at a summer camp hosted by Silva in Amador County in 2015.
Silva’s attorneys made the material available to the media ahead of his first court appearance.
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Silva was arrested while at the summer camp earlier this month. His attorneys say the media was invited to that event for maximum impact.
They say they want to get his side in front of the public.
Lawyers Allen Sawyer and Mark Reichel said Silva happened upon a game — possibly a strip poker game — and then left.
They said witnesses they spoke with tell them there was no minor in the room.
But the Amador County District Attorney and the FBI interpret things differently.
They allege a 16 year old was in the room and that Silva was not only involved in the game of strip poker, but also was trying to record the group without their knowledge.
Silva’s attorneys released a portion of the tape.
On it, one unidentified male voice is heard saying, “I want to be paid.”
A second unidentified male voice says, “Paid to be sitting here, butt naked? What?”
An unidentified female voice is then heard saying, “If I’m going to be naked in a video…” before trailing off.
A voice identified as Silva then says, “It’s an amateur thing for Vegas. You have to turn it in.”
That statement is followed by a chorus of voices saying, “No, no, no!!”
Silva’s attorneys maintain the recording of camp counselors playing a game was accidental.
“What we’ve learned through the complete audio recording is that game was occurring prior to Mayor Silva being present and continued after he was no longer present,” said Sawyer.
When asked if they thought the mayor had a lapse of judgment for not stopping the game, they replied that poor judgement was not a criminal offense.
“As a criminal defense attorney, we have never, ever even thought or considered or contemplated charging someone with a crime for bad judgment,” said Reichel. “Because one person’s judgment could be good and another person’s could be considered bad.”
Silva’s legal team believes evidence is being distorted to smear Silva in an attempt to remove him as Mayor.
“This is the most biased, the most outrageous investigation I’ve ever heard of,” said Reichel.
Silva is also accused of providing alcohol to the underage counselors. Pictures on Silva’s phone show what appears to be a game of beer pong.
Statements from witnesses to investigators conflict. One person says Silva brought the booze, others are not so sure.
Amador County District Attorney Todd Riebe released a statement saying in part: “We continue to believe in the strength of our evidence. We also believe that the appropriate place for that evidence to be heard is in the courtroom.”