Prosecutor: Chinatown defendant not misunderstood criminal

AP News
Posted: Jan 04, 2016 6:39 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A prosecutor told jurors Monday that a man charged with murder and racketeering in a Chinatown organized crime investigation was not the reformed bad boy he claimed to be during his testimony.

In her lengthy closing argument in a packed San Francisco courtroom, Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Badger depicted defendant Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow as a cold-blooded killer and skilled liar.

"He is not the victim here," Badger said during her nearly four-hour presentation. "He is not the world's most misunderstood criminal."

The prosecution finished its closing argument in the case that previously ensnared a state senator.

Prosecutors have said Chow took over a Chinese fraternal group with criminal ties after having its previous leader killed and ran an enterprise that engaged in drug trafficking, money laundering and the sale of stolen cigarettes and alcohol. He is also accused in a second killing.

Chow's lead attorney, J. Tony Serra, told jurors at the start of his closing argument that prosecutors had not proven their allegations.

"If you convict this man on the nature and quality of the evidence that has been produced, you will be convicting an innocent person," Serra said.

The investigation was spearheaded by an undercover FBI agent posing as a member of an East Coast crime syndicate. He testified that he spent hours with Chow and people connected to him at fancy restaurants and nightclubs, recording many of their conversations.

The agent, who testified under a pseudonym to protect his identity, said Chow tried to distance himself from any criminal activity during the probe but repeatedly accepted money after introducing the agent to money launderers.

The probe led to the indictment of more than two dozen people in 2014 and the subsequent racketeering conviction of state Sen. Leland Yee.

Chow testified to dealing drugs and getting involved in a street gang but said he decided to renounce criminal activity after engaging in meditation.

He denied involvement in the slayings and said the agent gave him the money because the agent was looking out for him, not in exchange for criminal activity.

Chow said he didn't want to know whether the agent was involved in illegal activity, so he would walk away from conversations involving the man. Those conversations included discussions about money laundering, according to testimony.