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Santa Clara Council Member Indicted

Santa Clara City Council Member Anthony Becker has been indicted on criminal charges of perjury.

In a news release from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Jeff Rosen accused Becker of lying to the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury.

“The councilman falsely denied to the civil grand jury leaking a report critical of what that oversight body determined was an unethical relationship between several
City Council members, including Becker, and the San Francisco 49ers. Such perjury is a felony. Becker leaked the then-secret Civil Grand Jury report – entitled ‘Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Santa Clara City Council‘ – to Rahul Chandhok, who was at the time the professional football team’s Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer. The leak of the confidential document came several days before it was due to be published. Evidence also shows that the councilperson leaked the report to a small, local media outlet,” read the news release from the District Attorney’s office.

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In addition to perjury, the District Attorney has issued a second charge against Becker for “violating his duty to keep the draft report confidential.” That is a misdemeanor.

If convicted of perjury, Becker faces a maximum sentence of four years. He is expected to be arraigned on Monday morning.

Becker has said repeatedly in City Council meetings that he was never interviewed by the Civil Grand Jury before the release of the report on Oct. 10, 2022. The report was released to multiple news agencies including this one, the Mercury News, San Jose Spotlight and the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, three days before the report’s official release.

The “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” report accuses five of the seven Santa Clara City Council members of forming a voting bloc that often voted in favor of the San Francisco 49ers. It outlined corrections the Civil Grand Jury believed the City should take in order to rectify the situation but never outright accused the council members of any crimes.

The City responded to the report by rejecting most of the report’s findings. However, the City’s response to each finding was based on approval or denial by the City Council, which is comprised of the Council majority singled out in the Civil Grand Jury report.

The Council minority dissented from the City’s response saying it was unreasonable to expect the majority to “police itself.”

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26 Comments
  1. Kirk Vartan 11 months ago
    Reply

    Erika, thanks for covering this.

    I’m not sure what you are quoiting here when you say:
    “…Evidence also shows that the councilperson leaked the report to a small, local media outlet,” read the news release.

    What news release? The Mercury News reported this outlet (Silicon Valley Voice) was where Becker sent the report. You posted the confidential report before it was released to the public. Here’s the quote from The Mercury News:

    “Becker also has been charged with a misdemeanor for leaking the confidential document to former 49ers spokesperson Rahul Chandhok and to reporters or editors at the Silicon Valley Voice, according to the indictment.”

    • Erika Towne 11 months ago
      Reply

      Hi Kirk, It was the District Attorney’s Office that wrote the news release. I will make that more clear in the article. Thank you. You are correct. The indictment lists the Silicon Valley Voice while the news release from the District Attorney’s Office says “small, local media outlet.”

  2. The Dude 11 months ago
    Reply

    Evidence also shows that the councilperson leaked the report to a small, local media outlet,” read the news release.”

    You mean the Silicon Valley Voice? Come on…. Just say it. Way to skim over details…..

  3. Santa Clara Resident 11 months ago
    Reply

    So I seem to remember that Councilmember Hardy also commented to several news outlets about the report prior to the release. Will her indictment be next?

  4. The Dude 11 months ago
    Reply

    I also find it funny that this isn’t the leading story… Just a byline story that disappears.

  5. District 6 Resident 11 months ago
    Reply

    Where is all the Becker support? Used to be all over this site. Carolyn?
    I recall this publication, the 49ers and the San Jose Spotlight insinuating someone else leaked this when you knew very well who was the leak. 49ers, SVV, San Jose Spotlight…all complicit in these accusations and Becker was the ‘patsy’ for you all. You used him because you knew he wasn’t wise enough to see it. Credibility of this publication has officially become 0.00.

    • JP Smiles 11 months ago
      Reply

      It seems that the 49ers have more sway with the Voice on certain articles.

      Jed York uses his money to influence politicians and reporters. We need a change of ownership for the 49ers.

  6. Buchser Alum 11 months ago
    Reply

    Erika,
    .
    You were the one who wrote the story about the grand jury report on the Friday before it was to be officially released. You posted your story at 3am.
    .
    https://www.svvoice.com/grand-jury-accuses-santa-clara-city-council-of-unsportsmanlike-conduct/
    .
    In a comment to your story I asked you why it was that you were able to get a story on the grand jury report published at 3am hours before anybody else including big newspapers such as the Mercury and the Chronicle.
    .
    “I am curious however how Silicon Valley Voice came to get a copy of the report and post an article on it many hours before major newspapers such as the Mercury News and Chronicle. And even hours before fellow hyperlocal online news outlet San Jose Spotlight. Can you disclose how you were alerted to the story and got a copy of the report in time to publish an article in the wee hours of the morning?”
    .
    You never answered that question of mine but it seems like this indictment answers the question for us all.
    .
    Since we know that Carolyn Schuk has ghostwritten for Becker it seems reasonable to speculate that Becker leaked the report to Carolyn and Carolyn gave it to you to write up your very long piece complete with quotations from Rahul Chandhok. A piece that was nakedly serving to publicize the talking points the Forty Niners wanted to get out in public before the official release of the report and which they have continually used to undermine what are valid concerns raised by the grand jury.
    .
    Did Becker send the report to you directly or to Carolyn? Or did you or Carolyn get it from Rahul Chandhok or someone else in the Forty Niners organization along with written statements from him that you could quote?
    .
    None of this is a surprise. You and Carolyn or whomever else at the Silicon Valley Voice who was involved made this all far too obvious when you had a seventeen hundred word article to publish at 3am which was around eight hours earlier than the Mercury published their less detailed initial article on this.
    .
    San Jose Spotlight was also suspiciously early to publish an article on this. Also earlier than the Mercury and the Chronicle and also filled with the same Forty Niners talking points and Rahul Chandhok quotes. But at least Ramona had the sense to wait until around eight or nine AM if I recall correctly.
    .
    https://sanjosespotlight.com/hatchet-job-49ers-rip-santa-clara-county-grand-jury-report-on-political-influence/
    .
    Was it not Becker and maybe one of the other Forty Niner Five who accused Gillmor of leaking the report?

  7. John Haggerty 11 months ago
    Reply

    Why don’t we first wait to see the details of the accusations which Rosen has filed with the Court and then hear what duly elected Council Member Becker has to say about it before jumping to any conclusions? Isn’t that the very essence of fair play and due process in our country? I would also like to know the extent to which the Civil Grand Jury and City Clerk apprised the Mayor and Council Members last October of the continuing confidentiality (if any) of the draft of the Civil Grand Jury’s Report which the Grand Jury, itself, was about to finalize and release to the public on the very eve of our City’s impending elections–which elections were very much disrupted by that Report’s vague and insubstantial accusations against our City Council. In addition, I would like to know why the Civil Grand Jury ever decided to interfere in our city’s elections in the first place. Who prompted that Jury to initiate its election-interfering inquiry? Was it some political players (with some useful friends in high places) who had some political scores to settle? Ideally, I would like the Grand Jury to tell us who these people were (that is, if it hasn’t obligated itself to a convenient secrecy in this regard which would be fundamentally unfair to the voters of our City). More importantly, I would like to know if the Civil Grand Jury intends to continue interfering in the elections of our City and County?

    • Jean 11 months ago
      Reply

      John,
      Speak louder for the people in the back. Thankfully someone with some intelligence weighs-in.

      • VG 11 months ago
        Reply

        I will wait for the actual case to be filed and decided in the court before coming to judgement. I voted for Rosen before, but after his office decided that a $1M+ scam by an ex-county employee isn’t worth prosecuting because it is expensive, I lost my trust in him. I am actually suspicious of the leak indictment, primarily because of the involvement of Mr. Rosen. My opinion is that the indictment of Mr. Becker is to force him to resign rather than to actually prosecute him. I hope Mr. Becker stands firm (if innocent) and let Mr. Rosen prosecute in a court.

        • Buchser Alum 11 months ago
          Reply

          VG,
          .
          It is understandable that you would question Rosen for potential political motives in this.
          .
          But based upon Becker’s public actions and statements and behavior the charges and accusations are more than believable. They are more or less expected. Becker and others have voted in ways that are beneficial to the Forty Niners and could be adverse to the public interest. They have all taken pains to keep private conversations with the Forty Niners private and many of the private conversations were with the Forty Niner’s Rahul Chandhok who Becker is accused of leaking the report to.
          .
          The Forty Niners spent millions on promoting Becker politically. There has always been a very strong suspicion by many that there is a quid pro quo relationship between the Forty Niners and Becker and maybe others. Leaking something like a privileged report early so that the Forty Niners could get out in front of it from a public relations standpoint is something many expected that Becker did.
          .
          The SV Voice very clearly sees Lisa Gillmor as an enemy. The SV Voice has clearly been a political ally to Anthony Becker and the rest of the Forty Niner Five. SV Voice’s publisher even uses his privilege as publisher to publish game reports and fawning statements about the team acting literally like a cheerleader for the Forty Niners. And we all know that Carolyn Schuk has ghostwritten for Anthony Becker so we know they have a direct relationship that is more than the standard relationship between a politician and a reporter covering that politician.
          .
          The grand jury already questioned Forty Niners staff. Rahul Chandhok is gone. They may have already thrown Becker under the bus and supplied records of communication between Becker and Chandhok. Chandhok resigned recently and I do not think that is a coincidence.

          • VG 11 months ago

            Hi Buchser Alum,

            I have been following the 49ers saga from the measure J time. I was against J at that time, but obviously was in a minority. However, I am tired of the expensive lawsuits our Mayor launched with no success. It is also a bit hypocritical for our Mayor to attack 49ers after she actively campaigned for measure J.

            Let us separate politics from crimes. If Becker perjured himself, he will (and needs to) be punished. However, I don’t see any such separation in the news articles. I am not particularly interested in blaming the Mayor, but I have no trust in Mr. Rosen. Just the fact that he is prosecuting this makes me very suspicious.

            Just as you think that Becker’s past history makes the actions believable, I think that the council factional fights (reported in several news papers), and Mr. Rosen’s recent decision on the scam case makes it believable that there is an underlying political reason for the indictment. That is why I advocated for waiting till the case is decided before saying that Mr Becker perjured himself.

            Thanks for writing a detailed reply. I am unaware of some points you made, so will definitely research some more.

            VG

  8. Observation 11 months ago
    Reply

    Becker is just the lowest hanging fruit at this point to be picked from the tree. The District Attorney probably sees Becker is easy to turn, and will use Becker to take down the much bigger trees, in exchange for less prison time for Becker. These bigger trees include those at the 49ers, Becker’s fellow council members, the law firm that replaced our city attorney after Becker helped fire him, and especially Rahul Chandhok, a 49er attorney who received the grand jury report, leaked early by Becker, and every media outlet knowingly receiving this early from Becker. Chandhok is a very high priced corporate attorney for the 49ers, who imo knew what he received from Becker was highly illegal and confidential, and the 49ers were not privy to it yet. Becker will save himself by throwing anyone and everyone under the bus, and those who knowingly either didn’t report what they knew, or took place in Becker’s alleged crimes, should be worried and getting their own personal attorneys. If just one other person helped Becker commit perjury etc, then they can both (or all if more than one), be charged with California Penal Code 182 – Conspiracy. California’s Criminal Conspiracy Laws – Penal Code 182 PC. The following was taken from an article re Cal PC 182:

    “In California, conspiring with others to commit a crime is a serious offense in itself. So serious, in fact, that if you are convicted of criminal conspiracy under Penal Code 182 PC, you could be facing the same penalties as if you had committed the crime—whether or not you carried it out.

    A “conspiracy” is described as when you agree with one or more other people to commit a crime, and either you or they commit an act to further the agreement.”

    • Buchser Alum 11 months ago
      Reply

      Observation,
      .
      Whether rightly or wrongly now that “lowest hanging fruit” has been made an issue involving homophobia we should all endeavor to avoid its use when referring to Anthony Becker.
      .
      There are other phrases to use that cannot be construed to be homophobic digs against him.

  9. CSC 11 months ago
    Reply

    If memory serves, the City of Santa Clara posted the same report on their website the Friday before it was officially released by the Superior Court, there might be a few other individuals deserving of a misdemeanor charge.
    .
    If Becker knowingly lied to court employees during an investigation then he should be held accountable for that action. It’s disgusting how DA Rosen only applies PC 118 for political reasons and not to administer justice evenly across all facets of government. https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/defense/penal-code/118/
    .
    Cases in point: (1) ex-SJPD cop Joshua Bates called his wife on cell phone using her to speak Spanish to a man who was wrongfully framed from drug possession. The action was recorded on body worn camera and revealed in court when Bates was testifying on the stand. Neither Bates or his partner, Ian Hawkley, were charged with perjury. Instead, Bates just resigned an moved across country. (2) And in the case of SCPD’s Gregory Deger, a few months after his police powers were suspended, Deger’s police reports and testimony in another case were greatly contradicted by fellow officers, all witnesses in the mater, and police practices experts. To cover for him, Deger’s knowingly false police reports and testimony was covered by Wahid Kazem who allowed the Use of Force report to be destroyed – again, all memorialized in court record. Another well documented case that DA Rosen’s office refuses to investigate and prosecute.
    .
    Against political opponents, Rosen is showing it doesn’t take much investigation to interview witnesses and review documents in justifying charges against an individual. Unfortunately he won’t do the same against his political allies (aka police unions) and their endorsements.

    • Buchser Alum 11 months ago
      Reply

      CSC,
      .
      I do not remember the report being posted on the city site until after the official release. I do not think there was posting of it on the city website until after the official release.
      .
      It was first reported on by Erika Towne for the Silicon Valley Voice at 3 AM and then it was reported on and published by Ramona Giwargis of the San Jose Spotlight around 9 AM. Then the Mercury News and Chronicle printed articles a couple of hours later.
      .
      SCPD chief Nikolai wrote a letter about the report the day after the official release.

      • CSC 11 months ago
        Reply

        Buchser, it was in fact posted on the City’s web site. And even the Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association (SCPOA) had it, registered a domain name to promote it, and published it on the Internet on Friday October 7, three days before the official release which was supposed to be Monday October 10.
        • https://whois.domaintools.com/grandjuryreport.com
        .
        Councilmember Becker came way too close to winning the mayoral election this past November and his D6 term expires in 20 months. The current city council majority also appears receptive to exploring amendment of the city charter in a move to appoint rather than elect a police chief. I am supportive of all legitimate crimes being investigated but this singling out of Becker is likely a political move that Nikolai, the POA, and others have pushed Rosen for help with.

        • Buchser Alum 11 months ago
          Reply

          CSC,
          .
          That record of the domain shows that the domain was created on October 7 at almost eleven AM which was at least two hours after I know the San Jose Spotlight had made the entire report available for download. And almost eight hours after this Silicon Valley Voice publication printed a lengthy article about that report.
          .
          According to Rosen the Silicon Valley Voice also published the entire report but I do not remember that only remember Spotlight doing so.
          .
          But it was clear that the report was leaked to Silicon Valley Voice and San Jose Spotlight earlier than the morning of October 7th. It was obviously leaked to them at least the day before in order to give them time to write an article about it that served to print and parrot talking points by the Forty Niners to undermine the impact of the grand jury report when it was to be officially released.
          .
          There is no sign of the SCPOA having had access to the report until hours after the public report had been made public for everyone to read and reprint.
          .
          I am all for more accountability of the police in general and this includes the SCPD. I am not against the idea of making the police chief an appointed position rather than an elected one. However I think itis naive to think that making it an appointed position will help in any way with corruption.
          .
          From all that we have seen this council majority would appoint a police chief who would be loyal to them and also at least friendly to the Forty Niners. Their top concern would be to have a police chief who is not a political ally of Lisa Gillmor’s and who would push back on SCPOA political activity but not necessarily do anything about police corruption or abuse of power.
          .
          And I think it is a very reasonable fear to fear that they would appoint a police chief who would be favorable to the Forty Niners in devotion of public safety resources for stadium safety and traffic management and favorable in the accounting of the cost of that.
          .
          We have seen how the Forty Niners are willing to spend millions of dollars to elect people to council who are favorable to them. We have to expect they will spend millions to continue to do this and so we must expect that any council appointed chief will be loyal to councilpeople who are loyal to the Forty Niners.
          .
          There is a reason why the Forty Niners find it profitable to sink millions into our council elections. Accounting and billing of them for SCPD resources gives them clear profit motive.
          .
          If for some reason the city charter will not be amended to make the police chief position an appointed position then we can expect the Forty Niners to spend huge sums of money to elect a chief favorable to them. They will not care about SCPD corruption or abuse of power if the corruption and abuse of power benefits them.

          • Erika Towne 11 months ago

            Buscher Alum, Please cite where District Attorney Rosen says that the Silicon Valley Voice published the entire report prior to its release on Oct. 10, 2022. That was not a comment made by Mr. Rosen during the press conference on April 17, 2023, nor was it stated in the indictment issued by the District Attorney’s Office.

          • Buchser Alum 11 months ago

            Erika,
            .
            It is disappointing to know that you ask me to cite justifications for things I write while you ignore repeated questions about what you have written and how you came to write it is central to the story.
            .
            Did you receive the leaked report yourself or did someone else at the SV Voice like Carolyn Schuk receive it and assign the story to you to write? Did it come from Anthony Becker or from someone else? Were you interviewed by a civil grand jury regarding the leak of the report to the SV Voice?
            .
            The reason why I said that “apparently” Rosen said that the SV Voice published the entire report prior to its official release was because of this paragraph in this Chronicle article.
            .
            “Becker also gave the document to the Silicon Valley Voice, a website that often features coverage favorable to the 49ers. On Oct. 7, the website posted the entire 60-page report, and within hours Chandhok distributed a fiery statement denouncing the report as a “hatchet job,” accusing the civil grand jury of “corruption” and indicating the 49ers had investigated the personal lives of some members of the panel.”
            .
            https://www.sfchronicle.com/sports/49ers/article/d-a-slams-becker-s-leaking-lying-49ers-17901794.php
            .
            As I also said I do not remember you or the SV Voice publicly sharing the report prior to its official release. I remember San Jose Spotlight doing so. And so perhaps the Chronicle writers were wrong in their interpretation of Rosen’s accusations.

          • CSC 11 months ago

            “I think it is a very reasonable fear to fear that they would appoint a police chief who would be favorable to the Forty Niners…”
            .
            This sentiment makes zero sense. I’m not criticizing you for thinking out loud, but an appointed police chief would report directly to the City Manager, not the City Council. There are employment policies and laws against a city employee having direct contact with the City Council and/or outside entities that an elected politician doesn’t necessarily have to abide by.
            .
            In an appointed/hired position, the city council would not source candidates for police chief. The requisition would be opened by the city’s human recources department and made publicly available to any qualified candidate. During an interview process there might be a candidate forum with a moderator, but the City Council would likely not be involved as was the case next door in San Jose two years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehWvF_OcOJs

          • Buchser Alum 11 months ago

            CSC,
            .
            Thank you for all that explanation. It seems you are saying there is a lot of structure that would insulate an appointed chief from the council.
            .
            I imagined that even if the chief routinely interfaces with the council through the city manager that the city council still is the body that votes to approve their hiring. And can vote for their removal. And while the city manager may officially be the party who puts forth the limited set of candidates I do not know if there is anything concretely stopping the council from having influence or even determining who is included in that pool.
            .
            After all we saw this city council majority terminate the city manager and the city attorney.
            .
            And we have a lot of accusations about how the police chief conspires with the mayor in political ways.
            .
            So it does not seem like there is very concrete or secure firewall in separating appointed officials from elected ones.

  10. Editor 11 months ago
    Reply

    Buchser Alum,
    The Chronicle has been contacted and will be making the correction.

    • Buchser Alum 11 months ago
      Reply

      Editor,
      .
      Thank you for letting me know. I am glad that your staff’s reading of my comments helped get this matter raised to your attention.
      .
      I wish that your staff’s reading of my comments also lead to some of my questions being answered or at least acknowledged.
      .
      Your publication is part of the story in this matter because Becker is alleged to have illegally leaked the report to you. And your publication scooped all other publications including much larger ones with investigative teams assigned to the beat. Posted a very long piece at 3 AM. Along with the revelation that Carolyn Schuk has ghostwritten letters for Anthony Becker to submit to be official city statements the SV Voice is a big part of this story.
      .
      And yet you all ignore questions to clarify your place in the story. Ignore questions in comments that we now know you read.

  11. Ben Z 10 months ago
    Reply

    I applaud Mr. Rosen for holding public officials accountable.

    But who holds Mr. Rosen accountable? He is helping a private attorney to conceal the sexual abuse of my children with unjust criminal proceedings against ME. Our DA has personal knowledge about what is happening to my kids. He just doesn’t care.

    Mr. Rosen also looks the other way when the private attorney has me physically assaulted because she wants to dissuade me from protecting my kids.

    Please support my efforts to protect my kids by signing the following petition.

    https://www.thepetitionsite.com/272/404/301/district-attorney-jeffrey-rosen-please-stop-sex-trafficking-my-kids/

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