SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The former CEO of a South Bay security firm on Monday entered guilty pleas on two counts of felony conspiracy connected to an alleged corruption scheme involving the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
A total of five people were arraigned Monday morning in a San Jose courtroom on charges related to the investigation.
Earlier in August, Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced that four people — including a Santa Clara County Sheriff’s captain — had been indicted by a grand jury on felony bribery and conspiracy charges in a scheme tied to Sheriff Laurie Smith’s reelection campaign.
A fifth man, former CEO for South Bay security firm AS Solution Christian West, pleaded guilty Monday to two felony conspiracy counts. For his cooperation, West’s charges will be downgraded and potential jail time decreased.
He and the others allegedly arranged to trade campaign donations to Sheriff Laurie Smith’s 2018 re-election bid in exchange for concealed-carry weapon permits for AS Solution.
One of the other four defendants is Sheriff’s Captain James Jensen.
“James Jensen didn’t get anything,” said Jensen’s attorney Harry Stern. “He seems like he’s caught up in something not of his doing and it really has a political undertone.”
The other four defendants put off entering pleas until September 21st. They’re working to have the district attorney’s office taken off the case.
“Our investigation goes on as we gather more evidence,” said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen. “We expect to file more charges against more individuals in the coming weeks. We are not done.”
At this point, Sheriff Smith has not been charged in connection with the corruption scandal.