SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – A grand jury has indicted Santa Clara County Undersheriff Rick Sung and added an additional indictment against a captain linked to a concealed weapons permit scandal that has rocked the Sheriff's Office.
An official with the Sheriff's Office told KPIX 5 Friday that Sung was formally indicted and has been placed on administrative leave. The office also confirmed the jury issued an additional indictment against former sheriff's spokesperson Capt. James Jensen, who has been on administrative leave since August.
Details about the specific charges were not immediately available.
Earlier this year, Jensen was among several people indicted on felony bribery and conspiracy charges in a scheme tied to Sheriff Laurie Smith's 2018 reelection campaign. Prosecutors said Jensen and three other defendants are accused of conspiring to engineer a $90,000 bribe — $45,000 of which allegedly went to support Smith's re-election — to obtain the permits.
In addition to conspiracy and bribery charges, Jensen is accused of falsifying public records. If convicted, all four defendants could face prison time.
"Our concern is not whether the Sheriff grants many or few CCW licenses, but whether they are being granted or denied for the wrong reasons," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement when the charges were first announced in August. "CCW licenses should not be given out in exchange for campaign donations. They should not be for sale."
Last month, two former managers of Silicon Valley international security firm AS Solution Inc. pleaded guilty to charges related to the scandal.
Sung's indictment brings the concealed carry permit bribery investigation into the highest levels of the sheriff's office, one step away, possibly from the sheriff herself.
"Given the fact that Laurie Smith ultimately is the person who has to sign off on whether someone receives a concealed weapons permit, it would appear that she could be, logically, the next target," said attorney Jaime Leanos.
"She is the person who would have benefited from this scheme if they're actually making political contributions for her campaign, with an understanding that if they contributed sufficient amounts of money that they would be put first in line to receive these permits," Leanos went on to say.
The Rev. Jeff Moore, president of the Silicon Valley NAACP, had a CCW permit that was not renewed for unknown reasons. Moore said the growing scandal is a reflection of the failure of Smith's leadership.
"If she truly had respect for this community, she would step down and walk away and turn over the keys," Moore said.
Sheriff Smith has not been charged with any wrongdoing. According to published reports, both Smith and Sung invoked their fifth amendment right to self-incrimination and refused to answer prosecutors' questions during their appearances before a criminal grand jury in August. The sheriff has not commented publicly on the case.
District Attorney Rosen's office said an additional announcement pertaining to the CCW bribery case will take place Monday morning.
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