SAN FRANCISCO -- The trial of a former Danville cop accused of taking bribes for setting men up for drunken driving arrests continued Tuesday with testimony from two of the arrestees and one so-called "decoy" who'd flatter and flirt to get targets drunk.

Livermore winemaker Mitchell Katz and Verizon executive Hasan Aksu each testified that, in January 2011, they were lured to The Vine wine bar in Danville under false pretenses by employees of now-incarcerated Concord private investigator Christopher Butler. Both were then arrested upon leaving the bar by then-Danville officer and Contra Costa Sheriff's Deputy Stephen Tanabe.

Stephen Tanabe leaves Superior Court in Walnut Creek, Calif. Thursday April 21, 2011 after pleading not guilty on CNET-related charges. (Karl Mondon/Staff
Stephen Tanabe leaves Superior Court in Walnut Creek, Calif. Thursday April 21, 2011 after pleading not guilty on CNET-related charges. (Karl Mondon/Staff Archives)

Tanabe, 50, faces seven extortion and conspiracy counts for allegedly being paid by Butler in cocaine and a Glock pistol for taking part in this scheme orchestrated by Butler on behalf of his targets' estranged spouses. Tanabe denies taking any bribes, drugs or otherwise, for making these "Dirty DUI" arrests.

In early 2011, Katz, of Livermore, and his wife Alicia Spengler had just started divorce and child custody proceedings involving their two sons. Aksu, of Martinez, had just applied for a temporary restraining order against his ex-wife Suzanne Porter and was seeking full custody of their boy, he testified.

Katz was lured to The Vine by Carl Marino, a Butler employee pretending to be an A&E Network producer looking to do a reality TV show on Livermore wines. Marino told Aksu he was a journalist writing a Diablo magazine article on the most successful European-born businessmen in the East Bay. Both men were plied with wine.

Sharon Taylor testified that she was one of four women Butler deployed to approach Katz during the fake interview. She said she pretended to know him from his wine business.

Stephen Tanabe left, with his attorney Dan Russo, leaves Superior Court in Walnut Creek, Calif. Thursday April 21, 2011 after pleading not guilty on
Stephen Tanabe left, with his attorney Dan Russo, leaves Superior Court in Walnut Creek, Calif. Thursday April 21, 2011 after pleading not guilty on CNET-related charges. (Karl Mondon/Staff)

"She acted super-excited, said she knew the wine, knew the winery," Katz said of one of those women, who was using crutches and looking for a seat.

Taylor said she was also deployed on the "Dirty DUI" sting of Concord aviation engineer David Dutcher, which did not involve Tanabe. Taylor, a security manager, said she considered herself "simply an actress that would interact with the subjects."

Former Contra Costa County Sheriff's reserve Deputy William Howard testified Tanabe told him hours before Katz's arrest that they would be conducting a "Dirty DUI" that night and gave him a physical description of Katz. Howard said they waited for up to two hours for Katz to leave the bar.

After Katz's arrest, Tanabe told Howard that Katz -- who had a clean criminal record -- "needed to be dirtied up" before his divorce and child custody proceedings started, Howard testified.

Katz said it was at the police station that he knew something was up. He asked for a blood test.

"I told him I didn't feel like I was intoxicated," Katz recalled telling an officer. "I told him I felt it was a setup."

Katz, Aksu and Dutcher are among the men suing in federal and state court over their arrests. Howard is suing Contra Costa County and Danville, saying he was fired in retaliation for speaking up about the DUIs. He also said Tanabe asked him to stash an illegal firearm the February 2011 night Butler and former Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team Commander Norman Wielsch were arrested for selling drugs they stole from evidence lockers. Butler and Wielsch are now each serving federal prison terms.

Butler will take the stand against Tanabe as part of his plea deal. The trial resumes Thursday, with further testimony from Taylor.

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her Twitter.com/malaikafraley.