A Silicon Valley councilman on Monday delayed a guilty plea on criminal charges for allegedly lying about the leak of a grand jury report on the San Francisco 49ers’ political influence and relationships with city elected officials.
Santa Clara City Councilman Anthony Becker is scheduled to appear in court on May 3 and remains out of custody in the meantime. He faces up to four years in county jail if he is convicted of perjury.
Becker, a Democrat, was charged Friday with allegedly providing a secret report title, “Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Santa Clara City Council,” to the team’s former chief spokesman and a local news outlet in 2022, days before its official release. The report called Becker and four other Santa Clara council members the “49 Five” and claimed that the five elected officials regularly met with the team’s lobbyists without publicly disclosing the topics of discussion. He also alleged that the council members regularly voted “in a way favorable to the 49ers.”
Becker then allegedly lied to the grand jury about the leak, prosecutors said, prompting the felony charge. He also faces a misdemeanor charge for leaking the confidential report.
Becker declined to comment when reached by phone Monday. Christopher Montoya, the public defender representing him, did not immediately respond to phone and text messages seeking comment.
Outside the courthouse, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said Becker was favoring special interests over his constituents.
“When you leak a confidential report to the target of that report, you are taking sides against Santa Clara County,” he said. “When he does both, leak and lie, as an elected official, he is sworn to protect and defend the interests of his constituents before and above their private interests. You have violated everyone’s trust and violated the law.”
Rosen also called on the 49ers to apologize.
The 49ers play at Levi’s Stadium in the city of Santa Clara, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of San Francisco. Santa Clara County is widely considered the home of Silicon Valley. The city of Santa Clara owns the stadium and leases it to the team; The fight between the two groups has led to ethics complaints, legal disputes and years of bad blood.
The football team funded Becker’s local political career by spending at least $3.2 million through independent spending committees for his 2020 city council race, which he won, as well as his unsuccessful 2022 mayoral bid, prosecutors said. . City of Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor, an outspoken critic of the football team, did not respond to requests for comment.
The 49ers have “fully cooperated” with District Attorney Brian Brokaw, a spokesman for the newly hired team said Friday. He declined to comment further Monday about Becker’s court appearance. Brokaw is a well-known Sacramento consultant who has worked for prominent California politicians, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Governor Gavin Newsom.