By Jennifer WadsworthSanta Clara County’s elected sheriff and the division’s second-in-command invoked their acceptable in opposition to self-incrimination in its place of answering questions from prosecutors previous to a jail grand jury earlier this month.Sheriff Laurie Smith and Undersheriff Rick Sung declined to answer after they appeared as witnesses for an inquest appropriate correct proper right into a political contribution and hid weapons permits issued to members of Fb’s contract security employees.Up to now, 5 people people have been indicted all by way of the alleged pay-to-play scheme on bills ranging from falsification of paperwork to conspiracy to bribe a public official. Neither Smith nor Sung stand accused of in opposition to the legal guidelines.On Aug. 3, from a witness stand on the outdated Santa Clara County Superior Courthouse, Sheriff Smith nearly immediately began taking the Fifth.When Deputy District Authorised professional John Chase requested her what she does for a residing, Smith immediate him she’s labored for the Sheriff’s Office for 47 years. Previous to he may even get to asking regarding the gun permits, known as CCWs, she invoked her constitutional acceptable over an innocuous request to summarize her regulation enforcement career.“Sir, under Article 1 of the California Constitution, Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution—excuse me,” she talked about, slicing herself off abruptly.Though absent from the transcript, witnesses to the persevering with say that’s when Smith, visibly overcome with emotion, paused to assemble herself and wipe tears from her eyes.“That’s fine,” Chase assured, allowing her a second to regain composure. “Take your time, sheriff. There is no rush here. We are not in a rush.”Smith picked up the place she left off“… and Evidence Code 940,” she continued. “I assert my privilege against self-incrimination. Therefore, I’m declining to answer your questions.”Chase pressed on.“OK,” he talked about. “Sheriff, what I’m going to do is just ask a few questions just to make sure that you are—to see if you are going to answer questions in any area.”“OK.”“You don’t have to go through the whole—we understand you will be invoking that particular privilege if you invoke,” Chase outlined, “and you don’t have to go through the whole thing if you don’t want. It will probably be about eight questions total.”He requested if he may title some people to hunt out out what she knew of them, whether or not or not or not or not they’re non-public acquaintances and whether or not or not or not or not they supported her 2018 re-election.“No, sir,” she replied. “I will assert my privilege.”Would she reply questions on Undersheriff Rick Sung? Or Capt. James Jensen, who’s one among 5 people charged all by way of the case?“No, sir. Same privilege.”What about elementary questions on the Sheriff’s Advisory Board, one of the best ways whereby it really works, one of the best ways whereby you develop correct proper right into a member and so forth?“No, sir. Again, I will be asserting my privilege.”Questions on her public data officers and their perform in processing options for concealed-carry weapons licensing?“No, sir.”Questions on how she handled these gun permits all by way of her tenure as sheriff?“No, sir. Again, I will assert my privilege.”What of the Santa Clara County public Safety Alliance, the neutral expenditure committee that accepted a $45,000 take a look at from a contributor who allegedly organized a plan to protected pretty a variety of CCWs?“No, sir. Again, asserting my privilege.”Chase soldiered on.“Just have possibly another one,” he talked about, turning to take a look at papers on a desk previous to him. “I just want to check my notes.”Would she reply questions on Martin Nielsen, the one which wrote that $45,000 take a look at on behalf of AS Reply, the chief security agency he labored for? What about his colleagues assigned to Fb’s authorities security concern: Rachel Paskvan, Jonathan Taunton and Leonard Lawrence?”Nope.“Thank you,” Chase replied, “and you are excused.”Sung took the an equal stand and invoked the an equal privilege a day later. This time, Deputy DA Matt Braker lobbed the questions and Sung took the Fifth acceptable out of the gate.“Good morning, Undersheriff Sung,” Braker began. “Can you tell us how long you have worked at the Sheriff’s Office?”“Based upon the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 15 of the California Constitution, and California Evidence Code 940, I respectfully decline to answer,” Undersheriff Sung replied.“Mr. Sung, are you going to invoke that right and that privilege to all questions that are asked of you today regarding the matters this grand jury is investigating?” Braker requested.Sung answered affirmatively.“Just to be clear, I want to ask you [about a] couple areas to be more specific,” Braker continued. “If I were to ask you questions about your involvement in the campaign for Laurie Smith’s re-election in 2018, would you invoke your Fifth Amendment right to not answer those questions?”“Yes.”“If I have been to ask questions relating to your involvement in CCW issuances within the years 2018 [and] 2019 would you invoke the privilege as nicely? “Once more, sure.“With that,” Braker concluded, “I will not ask any further questions.”This story first appeared at sanjoseinside.com.