The Best Defense

From “The Fly,” Metro Silicon Valley, March 5, 2008

Accused City Hall hacker Eric Hernandez showed up for his arraignment on Friday before Judge Jerry Nadler, represented by one of the valley’s most expensive criminal attorneys. Attorney Benjamin Williams appeared—and dropped the bombshell that Hernandez had retained his boss, superstar lawyer Steve Manchester, to handle the case. “He’s the best guy to hire if I was accused of first degree murder,” one of our legal experts opined. “He handles the biggest guys who are in the deepest shit.” Another member of the bar sang similarly expletive-laced praise for Manchester’s legal aptitude. “His shit’s better than Alan’s these days,” a reference to Alan Ruby, the lawyer who handles Barry Bonds and made Ron Gonzales’ bribery charges vanish. (We doubt either of these testimonials will wind up on Manchester’s web site.) No clues about how the teenage intern from one of San Jose’ poorest neighborhoods got Manchester’s business card or is paying the defense costs. Let’s just say our calls to South Bay Labor Council executive Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins went unreturned. Hernandez worked for former District 3 councilmember Cindy Chavez and stuck around to help Chavez successor Sam Liccardo set up his email accounts. He’s charged with hacking Liccardo’s girlfriend’s email looking for dirt on the relationship and of leaking unflattering memos from the mayor’s staff to an anonymous blog site.

UPDATE: Manchester called back after Fly’s print deadline and said that the Hernandez family came to him. He doesn’t know them and he wouldn’t say how they found him or who referred them to his firm. He also wouldn’t disclose his minimum retainer. He said he plans to crack open the file next week and that he’s only had a brief conversation with Eric. Manchester describes his client as a nice young man who volunteered his time to serve in Councilman Liccardo’s office in an unpaid capacity.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. George Bush and his administration are wiping their butts with the United States Constitution and we’re worried about some San Jose City Council intern spreading useless information?

    I don’t condone what he did but where is the logic?

  2. #2—it’s the modern day version of bread and circuses.  Now that Little Saigon is fading away, the “gubmint” needs another diversion from the fact that we have huge budget deficits at every level, and nothing is being done about it.

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