Yesterday it came out that tech exec Gurbaksh 'G' Chahal may have wiggled out of 45 felony counts of domestic violence by paying $1 million for help from former San Francisco Mayor and current lawyer, lobbyist, and Chronicle conflict of interest nightmare Willie Brown. So today, the Wall Street Journal tuned in to a KCBS radio broadcast featuring Brown as interviewed by his newspaper colleague Phil Matier.
Yes, according to a 2013 email, Brown asked for $1 million to make Chahal's domestic violence case "go away." As a member of the board at the ad tech company, RadiumOne, where Chahal was CEO, venture capitalist and one-time California state controller Steve Westly wanted to pay Brown because he sought to protect the company's plans for an IPO — which he eventually did by ousting Chahal.
But, "It was more than just an IPO,” Brown said. “We did put together a fabulous defense team under, you know, the canons of ethics .We followed all of the rules and regulations and saved him.”
Matier: Did you say you could make the charges go away for a million bucks?
Brown: I would tell you that one would be out to lunch if they said they could make anything go away, period. You could walk through all of the facts and figures that you have and you could say the conclusion can be, but you cannot say with any degree of accuracy, of honesty you could make anything go away.
Matier: Did you meet with (District Attorney) George Gascon to try and talk about the case?
Brown: Well, you don’t meet with just the district attorney. You put together a whole team of your people, they put together a team of their people, in every criminal case practically, and you literally meet and you walk through item, by item, by item, hoping to achieve the goal. In this case, it was one of whether or not evidence could be admitted, and if it could not be admitted, then the district attorney probably would not have a case. You want to make that case to the DA and not necessarily wait to make it to a judge.
A financial document revealed that Brown was certainly on a $250,000 retainer from Chahal, only $198,400 of which was returned. Matier asked about that:
Matier: OK, so, question - you refunded $198,000 of your $250,000 fee? Why?
Brown: Because I didn’t do the work for it. That’s right. You do it by the hours, Phil.
Matier: What did you do for $50,000?
Brown: No, I didn’t get $50,000. I had a whole team of lawyers. There were five or six of us who were involved and each of them were paid, period.
Matier: How much did you get?
Brown: I got under 20, I think.
Brown also dodged some of the e-mail related questions, stating "That’s not Mr. Brown. I don’t do emails."