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Santa Clara County undersheriff indicted in corruption scandal involving gun permits

Santa Clara County undersheriff indicted in corruption scandal involving gun permits
Santa Clara County Undersheriff Indicted in Concealed-Carry Gun Permit Scandal. Photo Credit: https:sccgov.org
By Wesley Severson - Published on November 23, 2020.

Santa Clara County Undersheriff Rick Sung has now been indicted in a long-running corruption scandal allegedly involving dirty campaign money in exchange for concealed-carry gun permits.

Sung is now the eighth person to be indicted in the case, which was first reported on by the Mercury News in August. This new announcement has many wondering if Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith will be next.

The case accuses two local lawyers, Harpaul Nahal and Christopher Schumb, and the owner of a local gun business Michael Nichols, of arranging to get 12 concealed-carry permits for tech security firm AS Solution, in exchange for campaign donations of around $90,000 that supported the 2018 re-election of Sheriff Laurie Smith.

AS Solution is accused of making a payment of $45,000 a group known as the Santa Clara County Public Safety Alliance, which is co-managed by Schumb.

The latest indictment also adds a new charge against Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Captain James Jensen who had already been named in the original indictment. Jensen pleaded not guilty along with Nichols, Nahal, and Schumb. 

According to the Mercury News, two managers and the former CEO of AS Solution pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in exchange for reduced sentences.

Update: Apple's security chief, Thomas Moyer, is also now allegedly involved with this, and was also indicted.

So far, Sheriff Smith has not been included in any of the indictments but many people believe that could change because she has the sole power in her office to control who gets the concealed-carry weapons permits

Silicon Valley NAACP President Reverend Jeff Moore tells KPIX that Sheriff Smith has failed as a leader.

"If she truly had respect for this community, she would step down and walk away and turn over the keys. She should have known. I believe she did know. But whatever happened disqualifies her from being a leader. It's under her watch that it happened," said Moore.

Chuck Smith who is an attorney for Sung told KTVU that he knows very few details about what was included in the indictment. 

"I don’t know what the counts are or what the charges are,” he said. “I don’t really understand what’s going on, other than that there was an indictment,” said Smith.

On Monday morning, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office tweeted that District Attorney Jeff Rosen will make an important announcement about the case.

As for when the trial could start, it was put on hold in October because of possible conflicts of interest with District Attorney Rosen, who is friends with Schumb and a political rival of Sheriff Smith.