Damian Trujillo

2013: The Year in Review

There was no bigger story in local politics this year than the sentencing of George Shirakawa Jr., the top elected official in Santa Clara County just a year ago. He was sentenced to a year in jail for stealing campaign funds, and a new trial on mail fraud begins next year.

The year 2013 will be remembered for its political turmoil, local and nationwide. A former county supervisor went to jail and the spotlight subsequently landed on his political buddy, a San Jose councilman. The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to get married, and the president lied to the nation about domestic spying. San Jose Inside runs down the list of stories that caught our attention this year.

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The Shirakawa Grand Jury Transcripts

Grand jury testimony from late last month led to George Shirakawa Jr.‘s indictment in a political mail fraud scandal.

George Shirakawa Jr. is currently spending his days in the Santa Rita Jail infirmary, while his county-provided attorney is attempting to seal grand jury transcripts that shed new information on his alleged role in a political mail fraud scandal. Since the documents remain public for the time being, San Jose Inside has decided to publish the grand jury transcripts in their entirety.

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Why NBC Bay Area’s Reporting on Xavier Campos is a Sham

San Jose Councilman Xavier Campos, left, and NBC reporter Damian Trujillo came together last week for a hard-hitting interview. Or was it free air time for a friend?

As previously noted in this space, it’s nearly impossible to get Xavier Campos to agree to an interview. It helps, however, if you have a close relationship with the media-dodging councilman like NBC’s Damian Trujillo, who scored a rare on-camera chat last week. What did we learn from Trujillo’s interview and a follow-up report? Hardly anything. But we did learn plenty about Trujillo and NBC Bay Area.

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Did Xavier Campos Relinquish His Ability to Take the Fifth?

Xavier Campos may have relinquished his right to invoke the Fifth Amendment in a mail fraud investigation after giving an interview this week.

Getting San Jose Councilman Xavier Campos to agree to an interview is a difficult proposition. Unless you’re the New York Times or NBC Bay Area’s Damian Trujillo. The latter scored an on-air interview Thursday with the councilman, who invoked the Fifth Amendment in front of the grand jury last month. In his interview, Campos claims that he had nothing to do with a fraudulent political mailer that helped his defeat his opponent, Magdalena Carrasco, in the 2010 council race. He also said he took the Fifth because he doesn’t trust the District Attorney’s office. But, according to NBC’s legal expert, Campos might have said too much, and he could be recalled in front of the grand jury.

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POA Board Lacks Confidence in Chief?

As morale continues to sink and police officers resign or retire from the San Jose Police Department in record numbers, the Police Officers Association‘s board of directors could call for a vote of no confidence in Police Chief Chris Moore. City Manager Debra Figone sent an email in support of Moore on Thursday to the City Council, Mayor Chuck Reed, Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell, City Attorney Rich Doyle and two members Figone’s staff, David Vossbrink and Ed Shikada.

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