First Witness Testifies in Civil Corruption Trial Against Sheriff Laurie Smith
The first witness in the civil corruption trial against Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith testified Friday.
Linda Wallace testified that she was secretary in the sheriff’s office who processed CCWs, or concealed weapon permits.
Smith faces five counts of willful and corrupt misconduct for allegedly giving those permits to campaign donors or vips.
Wallace said she created a spreadsheet with all the CCW applications that came in, and believed only she and the public information officer handled those applications before the sheriff either approved or denied them.
That public information officer is Sergeant Rich Glennon.
He told the jury that along the way, more people began handling those applications, including the sheriff herself, Lieutenant James Jensen and undersheriff Rick Sung.
Both Sung and Jensen are now facing criminal charges connected to those accusations.
Glennon testified that applications the sheriff approved in his time there were mainly for VIPs like professional athletes and business owners.
With a libel verdict, the sheriff, who is not running for re-election, would lose her job and would be barred from holding public office again.
One court observer, who didn’t want to be identified, said the trial is pointless.
“So far, what I’ve seen of opening arguments and this first witness I would say this that is a big waste of time and this is going to come out as a big nothing at the end of the day,” the observer said.
Jaime Leanos is an expert in civil litigation, and said it’s not a waste of time for prosecutors.
“If you do something wrong while in office, you will be held accountable for your actions, regardless of the fact that it’s at the beginning of your career or the end of your career,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that when people make mistakes and cross the line, they’re going to go after you.”
The trial is expected to last a month.