By Robert Haugh
San Francisco Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Ron Kroichick sacked the 49ers in a revealing investigative report.
49ers executive Rahul Chandhok not only attacked the Civil Grand Jury report, but its members, too. According to the Chronicle’s investigation, jurors have been followed, investigated and harassed.
Here’s some key sections:
Three experts on civil grand juries, watchdog panels convened by California courts to probe local government, said they had never before seen this level of aggressive criticism … Retired state senator and San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp, said the team’s attacks may have crossed the legal line.
Kopp, who supervised civil grand juries in his years on the bench, called public comments about the panel members by 49ers spokesperson Rahul Chandhok “rife with personal innuendoes.” Kopp acknowledged subjects of a grand jury report are free to rebut the panel’s findings, but after reviewing Chandhok’s statements, Kopp said, “They appear to have investigated personally every grand juror.”
“If I were the grand jury judge, I would issue an order to the 49ers… to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court,” Kopp said. “I believe personal attacks on individual jurors could amount to jury intimidation.”
The 49ers learned the home addresses and religious practices of the jurors, according to an email Chandhok previously sent to The Chronicle. Chandhok wrote that “several” jurors lived within one mile of [Santa Clara Mayor Lisa] Gillmor or former City Attorney Brian Doyle. Chandhok also noted one juror (whom he named) went to a church attended by Doyle, a longtime 49ers critic fired last year by the team-friendly council majority.
Chandhok described the grand jury to reporters as a “kangaroo court” and “a partisan group of cronies co-opting the justice system,” according to news accounts. He also accused grand jurors of “corruption,” telling several media outlets, “This corruption of the justice system is outrageous, unethical and the public deserves an independent investigation.”
Anthony Becker, the mayoral candidate whom the 49ers are backing in this year’s election with more than $2 million in contributions, made similar comments in a press release, calling the report “a political hit piece.”
In the ensuing days, two grand jurors said they were followed or surveilled by people they didn’t know, The Chronicle has learned. It could not be determined who was responsible for the alleged surveillance.
One juror complained of being “tailed” by another motorist while driving, according to two sources familiar with the juror’s account. … A second juror complained of seeing an unknown intruder on their property, according to the sources. At least one of the jurors’ accounts was relayed to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. A spokesperson for the D.A. declined comment.
Interesting that District Attorney Jeff Rosen declined to comment on the unprecedented attack on a local Grand Jury.
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