UPDATE: One defendant in gun-permit case pleads guilty, another wants DA removed

Daily Post Staff Writer

The head of a security firm pleaded guilty today (Aug. 31) to charges alleging the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office handed out concealed carry gun permits to campaign donors.

In exchange for his plea, Christian West, 51, also known as Christian Hansen, the former CEO and founder of AS Solution Inc., has agreed to testify against four other defendants who have been indicted in the case.

Also today, the lawyer of another defendant filed a motion to have District Attorney Jeff Rosen kicked off the case, arguing that the investigation started in retaliation against Sheriff Laurie Smith because she wouldn’t let the DA wiretap inmates in jail.

Rosen has said that his office has been investigating the sheriff since 2018 about claims that political donors to Smith’s re-election campaign were given concealed carry weapon permits in exchange for money.

Smith has not been charged, but Sheriff’s Capt. James Jensen, attorney Christopher Schumb, attorney Harpaul Nahal, and Milpitas weapons manufacturer Mike Nichols were indicted for allegedly conspiring with AS Solution Inc., an international security company, to offer a $90,000 bribe to the sheriff’s re-election campaign.

Rosen said at a press conference earlier this month that the investigation “revealed a sad reality” that two different policies seem to exist within the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office for those seeking the concealed firearm permits.

“For the average member of the public, no matter how pressing or justified their need, if they follow the procedure … and mail in an application, it will not be reviewed,” Rosen said. “However, if you are, in the words of Sheriff’s Captain James Jensen, a ‘VIP,’ then he will meet you at Starbucks, personally review your application and help you fill it out.”

But Schumb’s attorney, Joseph Wall Jr. of San Jose, said Rosen has no business running this investigation. He said his client is innocent but won’t be treated fairly by the justice system if Rosen’s office prosecutes him.

“This questionable prosecution follows a well-documented power struggle between the District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office, thereby precluding the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting this action in an objective and evenhanded manner as required by law,” wrote Wall.

The motion said that Schumb and Rosen have been friends for a decade, and Schumb has helped Rosen raise campaign funds for the DA’s race.

The men allegedly met through Palo Alto resident and Chief Assistant District Attorney Jay Boyarsky, who asked Schumb to get lunch with him and Rosen after Rosen was elected in 2010.

Schumb has also given Rosen legal advice, according to Wall.

Wall provided emails between the three men over the past decade as evidence of their relationship.

In one email from 2015, when Schumb was planning to co-host a fundraiser for Kamala Harris with Rosen, Rosen told Schumb that he was “the best.”

Wall said Schumb has also supported Sheriff Smith in her election bids, and that’s where the trouble began.

Smith and Rosen had a dispute over whether Rosen could listen to calls made by inmates without a warrant. Smith refused, citing a court decision requiring DAs to get a warrant for such eavesdropping. Boyarsky allegedly tried to enlist Schumb to help Smith and Rosen work out their issues, according to Wall’s motion.

Wall said Rosen became vindictive to Smith as a result of the dispute and Schumb got caught in the middle of “the political firestorm” between their offices. Wall said it appears that Rosen is using the power of his office to harm both Smith and Schumb.

Wall said Rosen, that by prosecuting Schumb, is violating his own policy against a district attorney proscuting a personal friend.

The issue is especially tricky because Wall intends to call Rosen and Boyarsky as witnesses for Schumb’s character. Wall said he is worried the DA will lie. If he tells the truth, his deputy district attorneys might go after Schumb even harder to prove that their office isn’t letting him off easy because he is friends with Rosen. Wall said this is unfair to Schumb too.