Council Member Anthony Becker did not enter a plea in his first court appearance since he was indicted for felony perjury and “violation of duty” – a misdemeanor.
Becker appeared in court on the morning of Monday, April 17. During the appearance, Becker’s representative requested a future hearing for setting of counsel and possibly entering a plea.
There was a brief misunderstanding between Becker’s representation and Deputy District Attorney Jason Malinsky over whether Becker would enter a plea that morning. The judge determined that it was reasonable to defer entering a plea until Becker’s next court hearing in early May.
Becker was released on his own recognizance without having to pay bail. Between now and May 3, Becker will have to turn himself in to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office for booking, but he will be immediately released.
Becker did not speak to the media following the hearing, however, District Attorney Jeff Rosen did.
Rosen asserts that Becker leaked the confidential Civil Grand Jury report “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” to the 49ers prior to its official release. He specifically named Rahul Chandhok, the 49ers’ Vice President of Public Affairs and Strategic Communications. Rosen also says it was leaked to a small local newspaper “editorially aligned with who agreed with Council Member Becker’s position about the 49ers.”
While that’s presumably The Weekly, the newspaper was not named by Rosen.
When asked if Chandhok admitted to receiving the report from Becker, Rosen said it would be revealed when the Civil Grand Jury transcript is released in a few weeks.
Rosen was also asked if Becker was the only person to leak the Civil Grand Jury report.
“The investigations of the criminal grand jury are secret unless or until someone is indicted,” said Rosen. “So, I can’t answer the question other than to say that what the criminal grand jury does is a secret unless an indictment is brought.”
He says the evidence makes it “abundantly clear” that the draft of the report was confidential, and it is also “abundantly clear what Council Member Becker did.”
While there are no charges currently filed against the 49ers, Rosen criticized the team for “smearing” individual grand jurors. He asked for an apology saying the team’s actions undermined the important work of the Civil Grand Jury.
“They’re welcome to say, we have other information that we think would change the nature of this report. That’s perfectly fine,” said Rosen. “Here’s what’s not fine, attacking individual civil grand jurors. Attacking those individuals, smearing them, making their lives extremely miserable.”
Becker will return to court on May 3. He is expected to be assigned counsel and will likely enter a plea at that time.