Oakland mayor retains lawyer after FBI raid

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao is being represented by a criminal defense attorney one day after FBI agents raided her home in a yet-to-be-disclosed investigation, KTVU has learned.

Thao appears to have retained Tony Brass, a San Francisco attorney who represents defendants accused of everything from violent to white-collar crimes.

In a statement to KTVU, Brass said that Thao has nothing to hide and is "ready, willing and able to cooperate fully with federal investigators."

"It's unfortunate that she has had to endure the bad optics of having this search warrant executed on her home. She would have cooperated with this investigation without the need for this search. She will continue to do the work Oakland expects from their mayor and provide the federal government with whatever information they are seeking. We have no information that she is or will be the target of this or any investigation," the statement read.

Brass's involvement comes within 24 hours after the FBI descended on Thao's home Thursday morning and three other locations in Oakland, including a business tied to a political powerhouse that has financially supported Thao in the past. 

FBI agents were seen entering and exiting her home, sporting gloves and carrying boxes with their badges on full display. Agents carried boxes and papers into their dark-colored SUVs. 

The three other locations raided by the FBI were two homes on View Crest Court and Skyline Boulevard and Cal Waste on Embarcadero, all owned by the Duong family

USPS postal inspectors were also present during the FBI raid at the Skyline Boulevard home, and at the View Crest Court home, a neighbor told KTVU he saw two people in handcuffs in the home. However, the FBI told KTVU no arrests were made.


Even before the FBI investigation, Thao faced criticism from her opponents over her handling of Oakland and this week, her critics submitted enough signatures to put a mayoral recall on the ballot. 

The FBI raid only intensifies their desire to oust the mayor from her post. 

Protesters held up signs outside Thao's home on Thursday that read: "Where's Sheng Thao?" or "Resign or Recall." 

"Our mayor has failed us," said protester Tuan Ngo, with the Coalition For Community Engagement. "We are here to demand that she resign and stop embarrassing herself and further embarrassing, damaging the city of Oakland." 

Protesters stand outside Sheng Thao after the news of the FBI raid

Thao has not been publicly charged with a crime at this time, and it's still unclear what federal authorities are looking for.

Local leaders have shared their thoughts over the raid, with Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas saying she shares "the shock felt by many," and former Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong calling it "a sad day in Oakland" and noting the "crises and failures of leadership in City Hall."

The raid comes on the heels of Thao's critics submitting signatures to have a recall vote against her officially on the ballot in November.