Disgraced California state Senator Leland Yee may be close to taking a plea deal
Former state Sen. Leland Yee, who until now has denied charges of political corruption, money laundering and racketeering, is scheduled to change his plea in federal court Wednesday.
A federal judge has calendared change-of-plea hearings for Yee and three co-defendants who had been scheduled to go to trial Aug. 10. Such hearings are held to enable criminal defendants to plead guilty, usually after negotiations with the prosecutor.
The other defendants are former San Francisco school board President Keith Jackson, who served as a consultant and fundraiser for Yee; Jackson’s son Brandon; and sports agent Marlon Sullivan.
Defense lawyers could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Abraham Simmons, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, declined to comment.
Yee, D-San Francisco, was arrested March 26, 2014, and initially was charged with accepting $62,000 in bribes from FBI agents posing as contributors in exchange for legislative favors. The favors included voting for several bills, setting up a meeting for an agent who posed as a medical marijuana supplier and agreeing to illegally import firearms from the Philippines.
Yes, the media is doing their best to minimize the hypocrisy of a man who was once one of California’s leading supporters of gun control, but the facts don’t lie.
How does that saying go? Oh, yes. Do as I say, not as I do:
In a stunning criminal complaint, State Sen. Leland Yee has been charged with conspiring to traffic in firearms and public corruption as part of a major FBI operation spanning the Bay Area, casting yet another cloud of corruption over the Democratic establishment in the Legislature and torpedoing Yee’s aspirations for statewide office.
Yee and an intermediary allegedly met repeatedly with an undercover FBI agent, soliciting campaign contributions in exchange for setting up a deal with international arms dealers.
At their first face-to-face meeting in January, “Senator Yee explained he has known the arms dealer for a number of years and has developed a close relationship with him,” an FBI affidavit says, noting Yee told the agent the arms dealer “has things that you guys want.”
Let this percolate in your noggin for a little bit.
Like so many gun-grabbing politicians that have been arrested in recent years, Yee seems to have been intent on disarming the law-abiding, Yee was merely making life safer for his criminal allies.
The sad thing is that prosecutors will likely offer Yee a sweetheart of a deal to avoid seeing trial headlines day-after-day showing the corruption of a man who was rapidly rising in the Democrat Party prior to his arrest. The trial would be a particularly bitter pill to swallow for anti-gun Democrats, as lurid details about Yee’s arms trafficking would be in the public eye.
Experts suggest that Yee’s deal may result in him spending only a few years in prison, which is far less than what most citizens would receive for being caught with one of the illegally-trafficked fully-automatic M16s that were among the weapons Yee was allegedly trying to smuggle into the country.