By Jennifer WadsworthSanta Clara County’s elected sheriff and the division’s second-in-command invoked their correct in opposition to self-incrimination instead of answering questions from prosecutors sooner than 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 proper right into a political contribution and hid weapons permits issued to members of Fb’s contract security workers.Up to now, 5 people people have been indicted throughout the alleged pay-to-play scheme on charges ranging from falsification of paperwork to conspiracy to bribe a public official. Neither Smith nor Sung stand accused of in opposition to the legislation.On Aug. 3, from a witness stand on the outdated Santa Clara County Superior Courthouse, Sheriff Smith practically immediately began taking the Fifth.When Deputy District Authorized skilled John Chase requested her what she does for a residing, Smith suggested him she’s labored for the Sheriff’s Office for 47 years. Sooner than he may even get to asking regarding the gun permits, known as CCWs, she invoked her constitutional correct 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 collect 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 they’re personal acquaintances and whether 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 in every of 5 people charged throughout the case?“No, sir. Same privilege.”What about fundamental questions on the Sheriff’s Advisory Board, the way in which it really works, the way in which you develop right into a member and so forth?“No, sir. Again, I will be asserting my privilege.”Questions on her public information officers and their operate in processing functions for concealed-carry weapons licensing?“No, sir.”Questions on how she handled these gun permits all through 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 quite a few 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 sooner than him. “I just want to check my notes.”Would she reply questions on Martin Nielsen, the person who wrote that $45,000 take a look at on behalf of AS Reply, the chief security company he labored for? What about his colleagues assigned to Fb’s authorities security factor: Rachel Paskvan, Jonathan Taunton and Leonard Lawrence?”Nope.“Thank you,” Chase replied, “and you are excused.”Sung took the an identical stand and invoked the an identical privilege a day later. This time, Deputy DA Matt Braker lobbed the questions and Sung took the Fifth correct 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.