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GUILTY VERDICTS IN SAN JOSE GANG CASE SAN JOSE — A Santa Clara jury found two men guilty late Thursday of the 1998 murder of 64-year-old San Jose resident Dong Dinh. The jury also found the special circumstances necessary to sentence the two men, Pov Touch and Van Hang Heang, to death. The jury found them guilty of killing Dinh for the benefit of a criminal street gang. Dinh was killed while his son was testifying against the ultra-violent Asian Boyz gang during a trial in Los Angeles in which seven of its members were convicted of ambushing and killing rival gang members. The prosecution relied extensively on evidence from a jailhouse informant, Ty Pham, who said the pair had confessed to him while in custody. There was little physical evidence for Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Lane Liroff to tie the men to Dinh’s murder. The jury deliberated for a day and a half before reaching a verdict, with jurors first requesting a read-back of the testimony of another prosecution witness, Chris Zahedi. While Zahedi testified that Heang had confessed the crime to him, he also said under cross-examination that Pham had said he was fabricating his testimony in a bid to win favorable treatment from prosecutors. The jury is expected to return for the penalty phase June 9. — Shannon Lafferty SENATE VOTES DOWN SECURITIES FRAUD BILL SACRAMENTO — State senators Thursday refused to pass a bill backed by the plaintiffs bar that would have increased liability in big-bucks securities fraud cases. SB 766, by Central Valley Democrat Dean Florez, was backed by San Francisco’s Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt & Pucillo and supported by Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach of San Diego and the Consumer Attorneys of California. The bill was opposed by business interests led by the Civil Justice Association of California, a tort reform group. The measure would have increased plaintiffs’ ability to get money in securities fraud cases by making corporate officials liable even if they aren’t involved with buying stock or if plaintiffs cannot prove they intentionally made false statements. It would have reversed Kamen v. Lindly, 94 Cal.App.4th 197, and California Amplifier Inc. v. RLI Insurance Co., 94 Cal.App.4th 102, two recent appellate decisions that went against Milberg Weiss. Florez pitched the bill as a way to ensure California pension funds would be able to recover money when they’re the victims of fraud. Thursday’s vote was 11-25. Florez asked to have the bill reconsidered, which means he can ask for another vote as early as next week. He needs 21 votes for passage. — Jeff Chorney

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