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PG&E pleaded not guilty Monday

SAN BRUNO -- PG&E pleaded not guilty Monday to a new federal criminal indictment on felony charges linked to a fatal 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion here, and hours later, San Bruno officials requested that the state Public Utilities Commission preserve computer drives and digital data that could shed light on ties between the PUC and the utility it oversees.
The city of San Bruno, where eight people were killed in the pipeline explosion, says it's concerned that key emails, texts and other electronic documents, as well as paper documents, voice mails and handwritten notes could vanish amid a current effort by the PUC to swap out hard drives on its computers.
San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson, and senior adviser Craig Bettencourt leave the federal courthouse following a federal indictment given to PG&E in
San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson, and senior adviser Craig Bettencourt leave the federal courthouse following a federal indictment given to PG&E in San Francisco, Calif. on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. PG&E pleaded not guilty on Monday to a new federal criminal indictment on an array of felony charges connected to a fatal natural gas explosion in San Bruno that could lead to a fine of up to $1.13 billion. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group) ( Gary Reyes )


San Francisco-based PG&E is charged with 28 federal criminal counts, including obstruction of justice for allegedly impeding an investigation into the explosion and violations of the pipeline safety act that led to the explosion.

"Not guilty to all counts," Steven Bauer, an attorney for PG&E with law firm Latham & Watkins, said at the brief proceeding Monday before a federal magistrate at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Individual employees of PG&E have not been charged in the case, and PG&E executives did not appear at the hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hallie Hoffman, who appeared for the federal prosecution in the proceeding, said the utility faces a fine of up to $1.13 billion if convicted.

Following the hearing, San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson requested that federal prosecutors press for creation of a California pipeline safety trust to help improve natural gas pipes statewide, and to establish an independent monitor to oversee PG&E and the state Public Utilities Commission.

"PG&E has refused to step up and take full responsibility for the explosion," said Jackson, who expressed the city's support for the government prosecution.

San Bruno officials, in a letter to PUC Executive Director Paul Clanon, said it is essential that all electronic equipment, data and documents related to three ongoing investigations into the explosion be preserved and available for public inspection.

"Any failure to assure the preservation and protection of all paper and electronic documents related to these proceedings could form the basis of criminal or civil liability for destroying evidence or spoliation of evidence," Jackson wrote in the letter.

One of the federal criminal charges alleges that PG&E deliberately obstructed an investigation of the explosion by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Federal prosecutors also have charged PG&E with 27 alleged violations of pipeline safety rules.

"Based on all of the evidence we have seen to date and our review of the new indictment, we still do not believe that PG&E employees intentionally violated the federal Pipeline Safety Act," PG&E spokesman Greg Snapper said after the hearing. "Even where mistakes were made, employees were acting in good faith."
Separately, San Bruno pointed out that a series of emails between officials with the PUC and PG&E show a cozy relationship between the two organizations.
The latest suggestions of an improper relationship are linked to a cancelled symposium on gas safety sponsored by the state government. PG&E worked closely with the PUC on the symposium, which was canceled after San Bruno officials brought the meeting to light, calling it a "dog-and-pony show" aimed at presenting PG&E in a favorable light.

"This is appalling," Jackson said. "It was our protests that caused the cancellation of that symposium."
The symposium flap is one of numerous instances that suggest close ties between the PUC and PG&E. In some of the emails, PUC President Michael Peevey offered public relations advice to PG&E.
The emails involving the PUC have prompted numerous critics to demand Peevey's ouster.

But in a meeting last week with the editorial board of this newspaper, Gov. Jerry Brown expressed support for Peevey, describing him as "a very effective leader; he gets things done."

San Bruno says that the PUC, under Peevey's leadership, has fostered close ties with PG&E that are improper. "PG&E is pulling the strings at the PUC," Jackson said.
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CNET: "Dirty DUI" Cop Convicted Of Extortion And Honest Services Fraud




"Dirty DUI" Cop Convicted Of Extortion And Honest Services Fraud



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 3, 2013


Stephen Tanabe, a former deputy with the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, was convicted today by a federal jury in San Francisco, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. The jury found Tanabe guilty of two counts of extortion under color of official right, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951; three counts of wire fraud on a deprivation of honest services theory, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1346; and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. Tanabe was acquitted on one extortion count.

According to evidence presented at trial, Tanabe conspired to and engaged in a scheme to take bribes in exchange for his services as a deputy sheriff, thereby depriving the people of Contra Costa County of their right to his honest services. Specifically, the evidence showed that Christopher Butler, a former Antioch Police Officer turned private investigator, was hired by wives and ex-wives engaged in divorce and child custody proceedings to arrange "stings" against their spouses, whom they told Butler had a propensity to drive under the influence of alcohol. Butler used "decoys" to entice the sting targets to bars in downtown Danville, where Tanabe was assigned to patrol, and encourage them to drink.

For one sting, Tanabe joined Butler in a bar while off-duty, watching two attractive young women working for Butler drink with a sting target. Evidence showed that, in exchange for a promise of cocaine, Tanabe notified an on-duty Deputy that the sting target was about to drive away, having been lured by the prospect of a hot tub with the two women. For two other stings, the evidence showed that Tanabe, then on-duty, waited outside the Vine Bar in Danville and then arrested the targets in exchange for a Glock handgun.

"This conviction confirms that Stephen Tanabe did not serve his community with honor or integrity, but instead set up unsuspecting citizens and abused the public trust," said United States Attorney, Melinda Haag. "Law enforcement officers are hard-working, honorable men and women who work selflessly every day to keep us safe. Stephen Tanabe is the exception, and he does not deserve the badge he was wearing."

The maximum statutory penalties for honest services wire fraud under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1346, conspiracy to commit same under 18 U.S.C. § 1349, and extortion under color of official right under 18 U.S.C. § 1951, are 20 years imprisonment; $250,000 fine; and five years of supervised release. However, any sentence following this conviction will be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Butler entered into a cooperation plea agreement with the government on May 7, 2012, and was sentenced on September 25, 2012, to 96 months in prison.

Tanabe, 50, was originally indicted on December 15, 2011. The Superseding Information on which he was tried filed June 12, 2013. Sentencing is scheduled for December 11, 2013, at 10:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer.

The U.S. Attorney specifically thanks Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson for his invaluable assistance and leadership into the investigation and prosecution of this case. The District Attorney and his office are vital partners in the federal efforts to address public safety in Contra Costa County.

Hartley M. K. West and Philip J. Kearney are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case with the assistance of Alycee Lane, Rosario Calderon, and Harriet Marmah. The prosecution is the result of a lengthy investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Department of Justice.








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Walnut Creek City Council - Take A Cue From San Bruno Mayor Ruane

By PETE BENNETT - Contra Costa Watch EMAIL
Phone: 510-460-5641
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US Grand Jury Indictments and Related Cases

US Grand Jury Indictments and Related Cases 

PG&E 

http://www.justice.gov/usao/can/news/2014/docs/PG&E%20-%20Superseding%20Indictment.pdf

http://gaspipelineexplosions.blogspot.com/2014/08/usdoj-pg-indictment-obstruction-of.html

 

CNET Scandal 

Attorney Mary Nolan 

http://www.justice.gov/usao/can/news/2012/2012_09_18_nolan.charged.press.html

http://www.justice.gov/usao/can/news/2012/2012_09_18_nolan.charged.press.html

Norman Wielsch, the former Commander of the Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team

http://www.justice.gov/usao/can/news/2013/2013_05_22_wielsch.sentenced.press.html

 

What a PI said about case - He doesn't know the DA offices are involved.  

http://antiochherald.com/2013/05/writer-says-public-should-be-concerned-about-police-misconduct/

Senior Contra Costa County Law Enforcement Official and Concord Private Investigator Indicted

http://www.fbi.gov/sanfrancisco/press-releases/2011/senior-contra-costa-county-law-enforcement-official-and-concord-private-investigator-indicted

 

 

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Candidate Intimidation - Pete Bennett for Walnut Creek City Council?

Candidate Intimidation
Pete Bennett for Walnut Creek City Council? 
By Pete Bennett 

Walnut Creek CA:  On Thursday 

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Councilman Gary Bell - August 1st 2013 

When Gary Bell became ill in just days before the election the memory of Mike Shimansky who just died a few years earlier of meningitis which was on the heels of Supervisor Glover's near fatal infection.

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Metcalf Sniper Attack San Jose CA

According to an article in the Walnut Creek Journal that attack had all the earmarks of a coordinated attack now considered one of the worst domestic terrorists attacks on a US Utility.  Knowing my laptop was filled with documents one day I typed in Metcalf.  The maps to the station were stolen from my hard drive.  This really stupid Youth Director from Hillside Covenant Church decided to breach my laptop that's now part of the PG&E Indictments on July 30th 2014.

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