Former Mayor Willie Brown is on the defensive following yesterday’s bombshell story in The Wall Street Journal alleging that he offered to make a tech CEO’s domestic violence charges “go away” for $1 million.
According to WSJ, Gurbaksh Chahal, founder of online ad company RadiumOne, sought Brown’s assistance in clearing charges that Chahal beat his girlfriend (security cameras captured Chahal kicking the woman more than 100 times). Chahal was reportedly concerned that domestic violence charges would sour his company’s initial public offering (IPO).
“It was more than just an IPO,” Brown told KCBS radio this morning (talking to fellow Chronicle columnist Phil Matier). “We did put together a fabulous defense team under, you know, the canons of ethics…We followed all of the rules and regulations and saved him.”
Brown denied he ever offered to make the case “go away,” adding, “One would be out to lunch if they said they could make anything go away.”
[jump] As to whether he ever met with District Attorney George Gascón, Brown huffed, “You don’t meet with just the district attorney. You put together a whole team of people and they put together a team of their people.”
(That's right, even the legendary Willie Brown apparently can't just meet with the DA. “I can barely get a reservation at Zuni,” Brown did not, but should have, quipped.)
For his part, Gascón also denied meeting with Brown. “My office is not for sale,” he said.
In April 2014, a judge ruled that video of the assault was inadmissible because it had been seized without a warrant. Chahal pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges and was ultimately fired from RadiumOne.
Per WSJ, Chahal advanced Brown a $250,000 retainer, of which Brown returned $198,400. Asked today why he returned the money, Brown replied, “Because I didn’t do the work for [Chahal].”
Asked why he then pocketed $50,000, Brown explained, “I didn’t get $50,000. I had a whole team of lawyers…I got under 20, I think.”
So there you have it: Willie Brown’s integrity is a bargain.