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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Feds agree to pay former Richmond police officer accused of corruption to hand over documents

SAN FRANCISCO – The US Department of Justice agreed to pay approximately $ 6,500 in legal fees and provide FBI files to a former Richmond police sergeant who was fired and prosecuted after several drug dealers accused him of accepting bribes.

The settlement dealt with in court records this week concludes the 2019 trial of a former Richmond police sergeant. Mike Wang, who requested over 5,000 pages related to the FBI investigation against him. Wang was fired in 2015 for “multiple policy violations,” but the police department has yet to explain why it has not provided documents for his dismissal, citing Wang’s six-year appeal to return him to work.

As part of the agreement, the Justice Department will pay $ 6,513.95 for Wang’s legal representation at Raines, Lucia, Stern, St. Phall and Silver’s law firm, court records show.

Wang was a veteran and investigator who worked alongside the Drug Enforcement Administration in the early 2000s. In 2012, Sergio Vega-Robles, a Richmond gang member who traded cocaine and methamphetamine with the Sinaloa cartel, accused Wang of accepting bribes for tens of thousands of people. Vega-Robles brought the charges after agreeing to testify in court about the murder in exchange for a lucrative plea bargain to settle two conspiracy charges against him.

Vega-Robles’ charges were later backed up by his former cellmate, as well as a notorious Richmond ex-cocaine thief named Anthony “Peanuts” Hollingsworth, who testified that Van “forced me to sell cocaine” and gave him a drug-trafficking pass in Richmond. Federal and state officials investigated Wang for possible felonies and interviewed dozens of people, but court records show that no criminal charges were filed.

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At the 2013 trial in the case of one of Vega-Robles’ co-defendants, Kobe Phillips, Wang was summoned to testify, but he used his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. During interrogation at the Department of Internal Affairs, he explained that he tried to help the prosecution against Phillips and hide his affair with nanny Vega-Robles, but was not really worried about testifying against himself, as the tapes show.

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