George Shirakawa Jr., a former Santa Clara County supervisor was arrested on Wednesday for impersonating City Council candidate Magdalena Carrasco in 2010. Carrasco is a talented neighborhood activist who became a victim whenshe was accused of being a Communist. Shirakawa was responsible for sending out mailers that contained a picture of Carrasco and across her photo was the flag of North Vietnam. The political campaign mailer of three years was resolved when a DNA match was found on a stamp. The mailer had been sent to residents of a district with a large population of Vietnamese Americans that would affect the outcome of the tight council race.
In the end Carrasco finished second in the June 2010 primary by 20 votes and eventually lost a November runoff election against Xavier Campos by 400 votes. Shirakawa had used the official name Carrasco’s Campaign on the mailer that contained a slogan “Neighbors for Magdalena Carrasco for Council 2010” including the campaign identification number. This allowed for many to believe that Carrasco was showing pride of her association with North Vietnam. Back in 2010, Carrasco complained to election regulators to investigate the mailers, which failed since there was no suspect to point fingers to. The investigation was closed later on December 2010.
It was discovered that Shirakawa was responsible for the mailers when he was arrested for stealing public money and used about $100,000 in campaign donations to finance his gambling habit by covering the thefts on government disclosure forms. Shirakawa provided a DNA sample after being arrested. The sample was then entered into a state database, which found Shirakawa’s DNA in the saliva of a 44 cent stamp from one of the 2010 mailers.
Shirakawa resigned in March and reached a plea bargain that sentencedhim to a year in County jail. He will be sentenced tomorrow where he will be arraigned on the new charge. It is unsure what type of punishment Shirakawa will be facing since he now also faces charges for impersonating Carrasco.
Jay Rorty, Shirakawa’s attorney is objecting to the new charges since prosecutors had promised in a plea deal to stop their investigations. Rorty stated that the prosecutors have broken their promise since they have re-opened an investigation for the campaign mailer.