Sheriff Laurie Smith’s Corruption Trial Set to Begin

Jury selection begins Wednesday, September 21 in the Laurie Smith public corruption trial. The longtime Santa Clara County Sheriff is accused of issuing concealed weapons permits in exchange for donations, mismanaging county jails, and concealing documents from internal affairs.

“The unusual case against Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith is a civil process to seek removal of an elected official but is similar to a criminal case, with prosecutors from a different jurisdiction to avoid conflicts of interest,” the Associated Press reports.  

Smith’s term is up in January. She did not seek re-election this year. Candidates Bob Jonsen and Kevin Jensen will compete in the runoff to replace her this November. However, depending on the outcome of the trial, Smith could be booted from office even sooner.  

In addition to the civil trial, Sheriff Smith is being investigated by state Attorney General Rob Bonta for allegations that she “engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct” as sheriff.

Sheriff Smith has denied the allegations against her.