FBI's Leland Yee Probe Targeted Joe Montana
The FBI reportedly targeted Notre Dame and San Francisco 49ers legend Joe Montana as part of their probe that brought down Democrat state Senator Leland Yee and Chinatown gang leader Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow on arms trafficking and money laundering charges, respectively.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Montana "was contacted by an undercover FBI operative about an unspecified business proposition during the Yee-Chow investigation."
Montana has every right to be upset this information was leaked because, according to the Chronicle's source, "Nobody has said he did anything wrong," and U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer "plans to issue a protective order barring prosecutors and defense attorneys involved in the corruption case from disclosing certain evidence to the public" so that those like Montana are not unfairly scrutinized.
"It's important that people who are innocently involved are not subjected to undue speculation," Breyer said in open court April 17.
The FBI has not revealed why it "would take an interest in a retired football great as part of a probe that netted Yee on public-corruption charges and Chow for alleged money laundering."
Montana's attorney Rob Mezzetti told the Chronicle that "if the FBI was reaching out to Joe, I would know about it - and nobody has reached out to him." He also said that if the FBI was trying to entrap Montana, he would not be worried because, "we don't take any shortcuts."
The FBI reportedly "ran a series of stings in addition to the Chow-Yee operation - including using an operative posing as an Atlanta developer looking for business opportunities to contact at least two San Francisco supervisors and two Oakland City Council members." Montana has been engaged in some real estate deals after his football career. He and his partners were even awarded $47 million in state bonds to work on a project that has reportedly yet to get off the ground.
Montana's business partner in one of his real estate developments, Kurt Wittek, was, according to the Chronicle, "convicted of bank fraud by a federal jury in 1992 after he helped a business associate secure an illegal loan to buy a North Carolina savings and loan. He later got part of the case tossed on appeal, and his five-year prison sentence was reduced to probation."