Federal authorities agree to pay ex-Richmond cop accused of corruption, hand over files
SAN FRANCISCO – The US Department of Justice has agreed to pay approximately $ 6,500 in legal fees and provide FBI files to a former Richmond police sergeant who was fired and the subject of a criminal investigation after several drug dealers accused him of accepting bribes.
The settlement, filed in court records this week, ends the 2019 trial of the former Richmond Police Sgt. Mike Wang, who requested more than 5,000 pages related to the FBI investigation against him. Wang was fired in 2015 for “several policy violations,” but the police department has not yet clarified why or provided any documents about his dismissal, citing Wang’s appeal to reclaim his now-at-risk job. its sixth year.
As part of the deal, the Justice Department will pay $ 6,513.95 for Wang’s legal representation by the law firm Rains, Lucia, Stern, St. Phalle and Silver, according to court records.
Wang was a seasoned officer and investigator who worked alongside the Drug Enforcement Administration in the early 2000s. In 2012, Sergio Vega-Robles, a member of a Richmond area gang that trafficked cocaine and methamphetamine with the Sinaloa cartel, accused Wang of accepting tens of thousands of bribes. Vega-Robles brought the charges after agreeing to testify in a murder trial in exchange for a favorable plea deal to settle two counts of conspiracy to murder against him.
Vega-Robles’ charges were later substantiated by his former cellmate, as well as a well-known former cocaine mainstay from Richmond named Anthony “Peanut” Hollingsworth, who testified that Wang “made me sell drugs. cocaine “and gave him a pass to sell drugs in Richmond. Federal and state authorities investigated Wang for possible wrongdoing and questioned dozens of people, but never filed a complaint, court records show.
During the 2013 trial for one of Vega-Robles’ co-defendants, Coby Phillips, Wang was subpoenaed to testify but invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. Asked about internal affairs, he explained that he tried to help prosecute Phillips and hide his affair with Vega-Robles’ babysitter, but was not really afraid of incriminating himself, records show .
Wang filed a lawsuit after the federal government delayed a Freedom of Information Act claim that Wang filed against himself, so that he could use the records to try to win his appeal against him. dismissal. Wang’s attorneys said he planned to clear his name and that the allegations against him were fabricated.
In addition to the corruption allegations, Wang was charged with warning drug traffickers of a DEA tracking device on a vehicle, removing a police informant who was then non-fatally shot. and received $ 750,000 after he sued Richmond, arranging for drug dealers to give him a small amount of heroin and offering to launder money for Vega-Robles. When the FBI attempted to question her DEA counterpart, she initially refused to speak in the absence of a lawyer, then denied any knowledge of Wang’s misdeeds, according to records.