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Becker’s Lawyer Dives into Lead Investigator’s Credibility

As the start of the perjury trial against Santa Clara Council Member Anthony Becker nears, we are getting a good idea of one of the avenues Becker‘s defense might take. In a hearing at the County Courthouse on May 6, Becker’s attorney filed a Pitchess motion to gain access to records involving one of the lead investigators in the District Attorney’s case.

According to Chris Montoya, Becker’s attorney, there was a possible Brady violation, meaning that something in the investigator’s file could cast doubt on his testimony. Montoya has asked the court to release the files of Investigator Alan Lee, who works for the District Attorney’s office.

Lee works in the county crime lab as a digital investigator. He gave lengthy testimony in the Grand Jury review that ultimately led to the criminal charges filed against Becker.

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Montoya believes that Lee’s file may contain evidence that casts doubt on his credibility as a witness.

As required, a representative from the county was present to represent Lee’s interests in the matter. The county counsel argued that the defense failed to outline “good cause” for the release of the records. Counsel also argued that the defense failed to “articulate” how discovery would support the defense.

Montoya countered that because Lee had already testified to the Grand Jury and that testimony was used to secure Becker’s indictment, an “in camera review” of Lee’s records is warranted.

County counsel then argued that the files would only show witnesses and their addresses and not much more. Jason Malinsky with the District Attorney’s office countered that under a Pitchess motion, lawyers could see more than that. Both he and Montoya argued that the County was trying to “narrowly tailor” what’s required to be revealed.

County counsel also argued that this file would only include cases Lee was involved in during his work with Santa Clara County and not the 25 plus years he served as a member of the San Jose Police Department.

Lawyers clarified that the potential Brady violation was suspected to have occurred during Lee’s time with the County.

Judge Shella Deen appeared to be leaning toward allowing an in camera review of the documents, citing Serrano vs. Superior Court and Sissons vs. Superior Court. She cleared the courtroom and reviewed the documents and then asked the county counsel to submit more information by May 13.

She will rule on whether to make the files available to the lawyers at a later date.

Becker’s trial is scheduled to start at the end of July. He is accused of perjury and violation of duty as an elected official.

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