‘Guilty’: Leland Yee Enters Plea in Federal Corruption Charges

Leland Yee (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

Former Democratic State Senator Leland Yee pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one federal count of racketeering, and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Yee, 66, was reportedly set to stand trial in August on charges of political corruption, money laundering and gun trafficking, but due to his guilty plea, he will be sentenced on October 21.

The guilty plea was made as part of a deal in federal court, according to the Sacramento Bee. “Guilty,” Yee reportedly said, when asked by Judge Charles Breyer how he was pleading, notes the Bee. When asked if he was pleading guilty out of his own free will or because he is guilty, Yee merely replied “I am.”

Yee was arrested in March of 2014 during an unsuccessful run for secretary of state. He was reportedly charged with using his political office and campaigns for San Francisco mayor and secretary of state for racketeering. Yee was one of more than two dozen people arrested last year, including Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, who is a well-known gang leader.  

Among other issues, Yee also admitted to being involved in a multimillion-dollar arms deal for shoulder-fired missiles and automatic weapons. The Bee points out that the source for this deal had ties to Muslim rebel groups in the Philippines, and that Yee is a staunch gun-control advocate.

Although Yee could potentially spend up to 20 years in prison, Sacramento defense attorney Donald Heller told the Bee that he estimates 30 to 37 months of prison time for the embattled politician.

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