Oakland Mayor Addresses FBI Raid Of Her Home: 'I Am Innocent'

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao addressed the FBI search at her house for the first time Monday, proclaiming her innocence and suggesting it may be part of a conspiracy to oust her from office.

“I want to be crystal clear: I have done nothing wrong,” a defiant Thao said four days after the hours-long raid at her San Francisco Bay Area home. “I can tell you with confidence that this investigation is not about me. I have not been charged with a crime, and I am confident that I will not be charged with a crime, because I am innocent.”

Thao, who’s up against a historic recall campaign this fall and demands that she resign following Thursday’s search, questioned why the FBI didn’t offer her “the opportunity to cooperate voluntarily” or provider her any notice of the raid.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said Monday,
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said Monday, "I will not be threatened out of this office." via Associated Press

She also theorized that the FBI search may be part of some conservative plot against her, possibly linked to the recall effort.

“I will not be threatened out of this office,” she said at Oakland City Hall. “There are a lot of radical, right-wing forces who know they will never win an election in Oakland fair and square. They know their extreme views are at odds with our open values, but they have built the rules to protect and preserve their power and maintain dominance over the rest of us. We are a threat to that order.”

She also said billionaires from neighboring cities are “hellbent on running me out of office” and asked “how the TV cameras knew to show up on my sleepy residential street so early in the morning to capture footage of the raid.”

FBI agents carry boxes out of Mayor Sheng Thao's home Thursday in Oakland, California.
FBI agents carry boxes out of Mayor Sheng Thao's home Thursday in Oakland, California. The Mercury News via Getty Images

The news conference was apparently not cleared with her attorney, former federal prosecutor Tony Brass. He told KGO-TV in San Francisco that he had no idea she’d be making those remarks and has since quit because her comments left him without a defense strategy.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service joined the FBI’s search, potentially signaling serious trouble for Thao. The USPIS, which investigates mail fraud, the mailing of illegal substances and other mail-related crimes, has a conviction rate of more than 98% for all targets who go to trial, the agency said in 2019.

Investigators also raided nearby properties on Thursday, including at least one home linked to the family that partially owns and operates Oakland’s recycling service.