Earlier this week, Santa Clara City Councilmember Anthony Becker deferred his plea on charges accusing him of leaking a secret Civil Grand Jury report to the San Francisco 49ers and lying about it to the Criminal Grand Jury.
The Councilmember, currently represented by the Office of the Public Defender, indicated to the Court Monday that he needed additional time to seek private counsel.
The 2022 report, titled “Unsportsmanlike Conduct,” accused members of the Santa Clara City Council and the football franchise of engaging in unethical conduct and poor governance practices.
The report raised specific concerns about a bloc of pro-49ers City Councilmembers potentially violating open meeting laws through frequent private meetings they held with lobbyists representing the football organization, and for ethical violations related to “operational tours” at Levi’s Stadium. The report also laid out concerns related to the City Council’s decision to oust its former City Attorney and City Manager after both publicly expressed unease about these ethics issues.
Councilmember Becker is included in that group of five elected members of the seven-member body described in the report as having an inappropriately cozy relationship with the 49ers and its lobbyists. The report notes that all five of these members consistently vote in favor of the 49ers, and that several of their campaigns – those of Anthony Becker, Suds Jain, and Kevin Park – received significant financial support from the organization. Becker’s unsuccessful campaign for Mayor also received $1.4 million from the 49ers.
The report was intended to be released to the public on October 10, 2022. However, by law, the report was provided to the Santa Clara City Clerk and Assistant City Clerk on October 5 to allow the municipality and individual Councilmembers named in the report to identify and correct any inaccuracies. Anthony Becker testified to a Criminal Grand Jury that he had no communication with anyone from the 49ers between October 5 and October 10. However, media outlets began publishing the report on October 7.
Becker’s indictment alleges he illegally shared the report with former 49ers spokesperson Rahul Chandhok and to editorial and journalistic staff at the Silicon Valley Voice.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement “that an elected official would commit perjury and lie under oath before the grand jury strikes at the very heart of our justice system and requires accountability.” If convicted, Becker faces four years in jail.