June 21, 2023 

Oakland — A three-day preliminary hearing concluded Wednesday with Judge Clifford Blakely’s decision that there is enough evidence to try Phong Tran, an Oakland Police Department homicide detective, on a string of charges, including bribery and perjury. 

Tran, a veteran officer, was arrested and charged with two felony counts of perjury under oath, as well as felony subornation of perjury under oath, one count of felony bribery of a witness and attempted bribery of a witness.  

The original charges are connected to the murder investigation of Charles Butler, who was shot and killed in 2011, but prosecutors introduced evidence of a pattern of bribery and coercion spanning a decade. Judge Blakely admitted evidence from other investigations that established Tran’s pattern of behavior. Prosecutors detailed strikingly similar allegations, including fraudulent identification of suspects in exchange for cash payments and eliciting false testimony leveraging an excuse from criminal penalties. 

Prosecutors allege, in Butler’s shooting, Tran attempted to coerce a woman to identify suspects in exchange for influencing a pending robbery charge against her son. Another woman, who testified at the preliminary hearing, claims Tran fed her details and paid her thousands of dollars to falsely testify she was an eyewitness to the murder. 

Tran currently faces a maximum of six years and eight months in state prison. His arraignment to stand trial is scheduled for July 6, 2023. 

“We commend and appreciate the witnesses who came forth in this hearing, who had the bravery and courage to stand up for justice,” said Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price. “When we ask the witnesses to cooperate, we are asking you to tell the truth. We don’t want you to lie. We don’t want you to deceive the court. We don’t want you to do anything that undermines the administration of justice. My office is committed to serving survivors and victims, making sure that witnesses are protected and that witnesses can testify freely and truthfully in every case. I commend the team that has served the people of Alameda County, faithfully and diligently, in bringing this case forward. We are committed to looking back, sometimes 10 years, sometimes 50 years because justice does not ever have an expiration date.” 

## Contact: Communications Director Traci Grant, traci.grant@acgov.org // 628-249-1288