SAN JOSE -- The lawyer representing embattled San Jose politician George Shirakawa Jr. blasted local prosecutors in court documents filed Friday, claiming the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office conducted a shoddy investigation, violated a judge-approved plea agreementand misrepresented what office-insiders knew and didn't know about his client.

The second of two attorneys representing Shirakawa -- a 51-year-old former county supervisor awaiting sentencing on a dozen political crimes from perjury to corruption -- calls the DA out for demonizing the defendant by filing an additional felony charge after the two sides reached a global plea deal in March sparing Shirakawa prison time.

Attorney Jay Rorty, a former federal public defender, is seeking to have Shirakawa freed from the June felony charge that alleges he is responsible for an illegal campaign flier sent out in 2010 in San Jose's District 5. The mailer enraged residents in a hotly contested primary race for a City Council seat and may have tipped the vote count toward Shirakawa's longtime friend and political ally Xavier Campos.

In seeking to have the latest charge dismissed, Rorty claims the district attorney "now attempts to demonize Mr. Shirakawa by claiming that he is looking for a 'free pass.'" To the contrary, he states, the office is "scrambling to prosecute Mr. Shirakawa using evidence that it had at its disposal in 2010" but failed to disclose during settlement talks.


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But the chief prosecutor on the case, Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu-Towery scoffs at that assertion and counters that her office would never have agreed to a plea deal if they considered Shirakawa in other open cases. Likewise, she has said, he would never be offered any type of blanket immunity for crimes unknown.

Yet, Rorty offers evidence that the 2010 investigation into the illegal mailers included Shirakawa as a possible suspect, even though the district attorney maintains he became a suspect suddenly, and surprisingly, only after DNA evidence collected when Shirakawa was first arrested in March arrived from the state Attorney General, and well after a plea deal had been reached.

The latest filing includes evidence Rorty says belies that premise -- primarily an interview between a district attorney investigator and Magdalena Carrasco, the former Campos rival who implied that Shirakawa could have been behind the efforts to undermine her race for office. According to a transcript of that interview, Carrasco told investigators that over coffee at a Starbucks Shirakawa had told her she was "probably gonna lose" to the more powerful labor- and chamber-backed Campos, and that if she didn't take office, her "future in San Jose was over."

Nonetheless, Rorty argues, former District Attorney Dolores Carr terminated the investigation into the mailer, naming no suspects.

Shirakawa's case resumes in court Friday.

Contact Karen de Sá at 408-920-5781.