San Francisco police patrol the Chinatown district Thursday, March 27, 2014, in San Francisco. Beneath the strings of red paper lanterns and narrow alleyways of the nation's oldest Chinatown lies an underworld, a place with a history of opium dens, gambling houses and gangland murders. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (The Associated Press)
Pedestrians walk near the entrance to the Chinatown district Thursday, March 27, 2014, in San Francisco. Beneath the strings of red paper lanterns and narrow alleyways of the nation's oldest Chinatown lies an underworld, a place with a history of opium dens, gambling houses and gangland murders. Federal investigators say it's also where Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow operated a criminal empire while projecting a public image of community servant. The allegations against Chow are part of an FBI sting that names 25 other defendants, including state Sen. Leland Yee. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (The Associated Press)
Attorney Paul Demeester reads a letter that California state Sen. Leland Yee sent to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen on Thursday, March 27, 2014 informing her that he was withdrawing his candidacy, during a news conference in San Francisco. The California state senator accused of accepting bribes and introducing an undercover agent to an arms trafficker is dropping out of the race for California secretary of state. State legislators have called on Yee to step down from the state Senate. Asked whether Yee planned to do that, DeMeester declined to comment. (AP Photo/Paul Elias) (The Associated Press)
SAN FRANCISCO – The federal public defender's office says it cannot represent a key defendant in a criminal case that also includes corruption allegations against a California state senator because of potential conflicts of interest.
Assistant Federal Public Defender Elizabeth Falk told a judge during a hearing in San Francisco on Friday that Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow would have to find other legal representation. She said the potential conflicts of interest involved previous cases, but she did not elaborate.
Chow was handcuffed and in shackles. He did not enter a plea. The hearing was continued until Monday.
Investigators say Chow is the leader of a gang that lured state Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco into its clutches through money and campaign contributions in exchange for legislative help. Yee is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.