Mayor Sheng Thao holds a press conference on Monday, 24, 2024, at City Hall in Oakland, Calif. Credit: Amaya Edwards



Just days after signing up to help the mayor, attorney Tony Brass is no longer representing Sheng Thao. But who dropped whom? Thao and Brass are giving different stories about why they’re no longer working together.

Brass confirmed for The Oaklandside on Monday that he is no longer representing the mayor. Brass did not say why he stopped working for Thao, but his move comes just hours after the mayor gave a fiery speech proclaiming her innocence and lashing out at critics.

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Brass told other outlets that he didn’t realize the mayor would be speaking to the press on Monday, and that he would have advised her not to. Brass told CBS that “our paths diverted in terms of our approach to the case.”

A representative for Thao said the mayor appreciates Brass for providing her with initial legal guidance. They also shared a statement from the mayor with The Oaklandside:

“He helped me better understand the investigation and my legal options,” Thao said in the statement. “Over the weekend, I obtained new legal counsel and thanked Mr. Brass for his counsel.”

The representative said Thao will share the name of her new attorney once the agreements are finalized. Brass told The Oaklandside that on Sunday night he talked to another attorney who had spoken to the mayor. At the time, this individual had not been retained nor did he know if he would be retained, Brass said.

Last week, Brass told the press he had no information indicating that Thao is or will be the target of any investigation.

Thao spoke to the press today in her first public statement since the FBI raid on Thursday. In a brief but wide-ranging speech, the mayor declared her innocence, criticized the FBI for not giving her a chance to voluntarily turn over information, and attacked proponents of the recall campaign that is trying to oust her this year.

“I can tell you with confidence this investigation is not about me,” Thao told reporters at a packed press conference on Monday. “I have not been charged with a crime and I am confident I will not be charged with a crime because I am innocent.”