Monday a Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury formally accused Sheriff Laurie Smith of corruption in office. She could be removed from office, if the accusations prove to be true, MSN reports.
The Grand Jury leveled seven counts of willful corruption or misconduct in office against the Sheriff, mostly stemming from allegations she leveraged her authority to issue concealed carry weapons (CCW) permits to illegally secure campaign contributions or favors from “VIP” applicants. One count alleges that Smith refused to cooperate with civilian jail monitors probing a 2018 incident that left mentally ill inmate Andrew Hogan with permanent brain damage after he injured himself during a jail transport.
“If you want to get a CCW to carry a firearm, you should be treated fairly and equally,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “One of those standards cannot be are you supporting the Sheriff or the Sheriff’s reelection. And that’s what this bribery investigation was about.”
While Smith faces accusations from the Civil Grand Jury that could end her tenure as sheriff, she hasn't been criminally charged. Smith was called as a witness during the criminal grand jury proceedings, but she invoked the Fifth Amendment and declined to testify.
The accusations include:
- Trading concealed carry weapons permits, or CCWs, for campaign donations
- Unfair CCW consideration for non-VIPs
- Failing to provide non-VIPs timely notice of their applications
- Accepting gifts in excess of $500 – which included San Jose Sharks suite tickets from an applicant
- Failing to report that gift
- Perjury for omitting that gift from financial forms
- Failing to cooperate with the Santa Clara County Office of Corrections and Law Enforcement Monitoring’s intendent review of the Hogan incident.
Smith is due in court Jan. 12 to answer to the allegations.