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California NewsUSA

Indicted Santa Clara City Council member Anthony Becker’s trial over leaked 49ers report pushed back – The Mercury News

The trial of Santa Clara City Councilman Anthony Becker, accused of leaking a confidential report and lying about it, has been postponed after his lawyer asked for more time to prepare.

Becker, who was indicted in April 2023 for allegedly leaking a civil grand jury report to the NFL team about the San Francisco 49ers’ involvement in Santa Clara politics and then lying about it, was to be tried on March 4.

But last week, his public defender, Christopher Montoya, asked a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge to postpone the next hearing until July 29. In his motion, he said he needed more time to review the more than 13,000 pages of discovery and other audio documents. and multimedia files. Montoya also said he was conflicted about the March 4 start date for the trial.

“This is a high-profile case involving the prosecution of City Councilman Anthony Becker,” Montoya wrote in his motion. “To date, there are more than 60 potential witnesses. The media status of this affair adds and complicates the disputes.

Judge Elizabeth Peterson ultimately decided to move Becker’s trial, but not as far as her attorney had requested. He is now due to appear in court on April 22.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Malinsky believes Becker’s attorney has had ample time to prepare because it has been nearly a year since the council member was indicted.

“I think it gives a defendant enough time to do the investigation they need to do and prepare for trial,” Malinsky told the Mercury News. “I think the community deserves a resolution on this issue. This is a public official who abused his power, committed a crime, and lied about it. I think this should be resolved one way or another as efficiently and quickly as possible.

Malinsky also said he believes Becker’s defense lacked a sense of urgency because they waited more than a month to recover the recently discovered documents.

“It’s not a particularly complicated matter,” he said.

Montoya did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Friday’s hearing was the latest development in a more than year-long saga that could land Becker in county prison for up to four years.

It all started in early October 2022 when details of a scathing Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury report, titled “Unsportsmanlike Conduct,” appeared in several media outlets – including this one – days before its release. The report focused on the 49ers’ influence over the city and criticized several council members for holding frequent closed-door meetings with the team’s lobbyists. The NFL team operates city-owned Levi’s Stadium.

Becker was indicted six months later and pleaded not guilty to the charges – a misdemeanor and criminal perjury. Transcripts of testimony given to the grand jury that indicted the council member and obtained by The Mercury News showed that Becker told Suds Jain, another Santa Clara council member, that he was behind the leak. It was also revealed that former 49ers spokesperson Rahul Chandhok said Becker sent him a copy of the report via encrypted messaging app Signal, before it became public.

Santa Clara officials and the 49ers have been at odds for much of their now more than decade-long relationship. Team owner Jed York spent millions of dollars on municipal elections and shelled out more than $1.4 million during Becker’s recent unsuccessful bid for mayor.

California Daily Newspapers

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