County Sheriff’s Captain indicted, County DA hints more to come

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced a major set of indictments Friday morning, with hints of more coming.

County Sheriff’s Captain James Jensen, prominent local attorneys Christopher Schumb and Harpaul Nahal, as well as business owner Michael Nichols were indicted. The 16-page indictment outlines dozens of overt acts.

The charges suggest that the four conspired with a security company to offer bribes in exchange for concealed weapons permits. According to the indictment, the plan was for $90,000 in donations for an independent committee supporting County Sheriff Laurie Smith’s 2018 reelection campaign. Smith has the power to authorize concealed weapon permits.

Martin Nielsen, an executive at the security company, did make an initial $45,000 donation. That came after he submitted 7 concealed weapons requests to Jensen. But a second payment did not come through. Rosen says his office’s investigation may have caused the stop.

The county grand jury also accuses Jensen of putting false information on the weapon permit requests.

While County Sheriff Laurie Smith was not among the indicted parties, Rosen says more crimes and individuals are being investigated.

“CCW licenses should not be given out in exchange for campaign donations. They should not be for sale,” Rosen said.

The County Sheriff’s office said Jensen has been placed on administrative leave. They did not comment on any potential ties for Sheriff Smith in the investigation.