SAN FRANCISCO -- The first so-called Dirty DUI sting involving ex-Danville police Officer Steven Tanabe targeted a software executive promised a hot tub threesome by women deployed to show off their "goods" and "seal the deal" with a kiss, according to testimony Thursday at Tanabe's federal trial on seven extortion and conspiracy counts.
Federal prosecutors allege that Tanabe, 50, of Alamo, accepted cocaine and a Glock pistol from now-incarcerated Concord private investigator Christoper Butler in exchange for facilitating the drunken driving arrests of three men who were the estranged husbands of Butler & Associates clients seeking leverage in divorce and child custody proceedings. Tanabe concedes to taking part in the DUI stings but asserts that he never accepted any kind of payment.
Former Butler & Associates employee Heather Lowery testified Thursday that she was one of two "decoys" who worked on two stings in October 2010 to get software executive David Lane Bauldry arrested at the behest of ex-wife Mona Daggett.
Butler, whose Dirty DUI setups dated to at least 2007 but didn't come to light until he and former Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team Commander Norman Wielsch were busted selling stolen drug evidence in February 2011, would instruct the decoys on how to look and act in order to get Bauldry drunk, according to the testimony.
"We were required to bring outfits to try on, and Chris Butler would determine what we'd wear," Lowery said.
Butler told them to "drink, flirt and have fun with Mr. Bauldry," while Butler exchanged text messages with them to keep track of what and how much Bauldry was drinking.
"Are you guys showing off the goods?" one text read. Lowery said she knew "the goods" meant cleavage.
The first attempt to get Bauldry arrested, on Oct. 21, 2010, was called off because Bauldry was joined at Crogan's bar in Montclair by a friend who was a Piedmont cop. Still, Lowery said, it was considered a success because they got Bauldry's phone number, and he appeared interested.
The next sting was rescheduled for five days later at Meenar's bar in Danville "because that's where (Butler) had a cop that would pull him over," Lowery said.
Tanabe wasn't working that night but came to the bar to watch Bauldry.
Lowery said Butler told her that Tanabe "has a friend police officer that would pull Mr. Bauldry over, but this police officer was on the straight and narrow."
Contra Costa County Deputy Tom Henderson testified he was on patrol in downtown Danville that night and received several calls from Tanabe about a drunken man at Meenar's who his PI friend was surveying and he feared was going to drive. As Tanabe wanted to stay anonymous and off the police report, Henderson said he wouldn't be pulling over anyone without probable cause.
Butler and Tanabe tried to bust one of Bauldry's taillights to generate probable cause, a prosecutor said Monday.
"(Butler) said he tried to break the taillight on Mr. Bauldry's car but was unsuccessful," Lowery said Thursday. "He was with Steve Tanabe, I believe."
Butler had the women pretend they were housesitting in Danville at a residence with a hot tub and ask Bauldry to follow him there in his own car.
"(Butler) said the deal needed to be sealed, and someone needed to kiss him," Lowery said. "Lane Bauldry was under the impression that he would be involved in a threesome."
The women took off at a high rate of speed, and Bauldry followed suit. He was pulled over by Henderson for the speeding violation and then arrested by Officer Robert Durrer on suspicion of drunken driving.
Two other officers testified Thursday that Tanabe once showed off a Glock that he got from his "PI friend" in the locker room at the Danville Police Department. He told Officer Kevin Briggs that Butler owed him money, and the gun was payment.
The trial continues Monday.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.