SAN JOSE -- A Santa Clara man accused of threatening the life of a Bay Area state senator pleaded not guilty Thursday and was denied bail after a judge deemed his release too great of a public safety risk, a stance his defense attorney vehemently fought in a heated courtroom hearing.
Everett Fred Basham, 45, faces a dozen criminal charges -- 10 of them felonies -- related to an alleged threat against state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, purportedly in protest to the senator's proposed crackdown on loopholes in state gun laws.
"Public safety is a paramount concern for the court to address," said Judge Kenneth L. Shapero when issuing the bail denial. "The facts and the circumstances of the case and public safety issues ... permit the court to continue its existing order for no bail."
Basham's attorney Daniel Barton objected to the bail denial, saying he has received no evidence against his client beyond a criminal complaint, as prosecutors' statement of facts and a new exhibit presented Thursday during the bail hearing are both under court seal.
Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci submitted the latter to the judge away from open court, citing a need to protect an ongoing investigation and the possibility of additional charges.
All of this occurred over Barton's vocal objections.
"What we have here is a secret hearing with secret evidence, with no bail," Barton said afterward. "It seems rather unfair and not the
Barton submitted a letter claiming that a doctor's evaluation determined his client would not be a danger to the public if released. He noted Basham's ties to the community as a longtime South Bay resident who worked as an engineer for Hewlett-Packard -- he also briefly worked for Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak -- and said he was receptive to release conditions like electronic monitoring and surrendering his passport.
He openly expressed frustration both during and after the hearing about having to defend his client without having any insight into the prosecution's case against Basham.
"I can tell you zero because the court has told me zero," Barton said. "I don't know what words he wrote or spoke or typed."
Without going into detail, prosecutor Kianerci insisted to the court that the alleged threat combined with the defendant's knowledge of weaponry and explosives presented too much of a risk.
"If there was ever any case that warranted no bail, this is it," she said.
Basham was calm and conversant with his counsel Thursday as his father, whose home was where authorities tracked him down, looked on silently from the gallery. He has declined to speak with reporters since his son's Feb. 13 arrest by authorities investigating the threat.
An ensuing search of the younger Basham's Humbolt Avenue home reportedly revealed homemade explosives and illegal assault weapons that yielded most of the 12 charges prosecutors filed against him, according to a criminal complaint.
Yee said last week that Basham sent him an email in mid-January purportedly stating that if the senator did not retreat from his gun control efforts, he would kill him in or around the state Capitol. The message was forwarded to the California Highway Patrol, which oversees legislative security, and the agency deemed the threat specific enough to be credible.
Basham has been charged with criminal threats with an armed enhancement, two counts of possessing a destructive device, two counts of possessing materials with intent to make an explosive, one count each of forging and possessing a fake driver's license and three counts of illegally possessing an assault weapon. He was also charged with two misdemeanor counts for allegedly carrying a concealed and loaded firearm in a vehicle.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.