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Senator Yee Arrested

State Senator Leland Yee was taken into custody after several FBI raids in San Francisco and Sacramento.

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California Senator Yee’s Office Searched

Senator Leland Yee
Undated file photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Los Angeles Times)-

A federal grand jury indicted 29 suspects, including California state Sen. Leland Yee, with a wide range of crimes, including firearms trafficking and public corruption, U.S. Atty. Melinda Haag announced Friday.

Yee, a Democrat who represents parts of San Francisco and San Mateo County, and other suspects were arrested last week on a criminal complaint that outlined the charges behind the grand jury indictments. Yee was indicted on charges of corruption, wire fraud and gun trafficking, the same charges laid out in the complaint.

The indictment said Yee solicited campaign contributions from undercover FBI agents and promised political favors in return. The alleged favors included a letter of endorsement on Yee’s state Senate stationary and a state proclamation.

A grand jury indictment means the defendants will not be entitled to a preliminary hearing in which testimony would be taken and a judge would determine whether there was sufficient evidence for a trial.

Local News
04/01/14

Yee Staff Office Searched by FBI

image

A hallway where an office belonging to Yee staff is located was blocked off Tuesday morning.

SACRAMENTO-

The FBI conducted a new search Tuesday in connection with the recent arrest of Senator Leland Yee.

Agents were notified by the Senate of an office space in the Legislative Office Building on N Street used by Yee’s staff.

READ: Senator Yee Faces Long List of Charges

Following Yee’s arrest, Senate leaders went through records to see if any computers or office area were assigned to Senator Yee. They told the FBI about the office along N Street.

The room was mostly used for storage; there are several boxes and a computer in the room.

The FBI walked into the legislative office Tuesday morning around 7 with a warrant, then left without taking anything. The agents were gone by 9 a.m. when other people started arriving at the offices.

Yee was arrested last month and is facing charges of arms trafficking and political corruption.

Senate leaders say they are having an outside group look through legislators’ offices for an ethics review.

READ the whole criminal document, list of charges

DETAILS: Senator Yee Indicted on Arms Trafficking, Public Corruption Charges

WATCH: Agents Take Evidence from Senator Yee’s Office

 Steinberg to Yee: “This is Sickening”, “Leave”

Political Connection
03/28/14

Senate Votes to Suspend Democratic Lawmakers

SACRAMENTO-

Senators have voted to suspend three co-workers after they were arrested for separate incidents this year.

Originally Senate leader Darryl Steinberg said it was ok for Senators Wright and Calderon to have a leave of absence from the state legislature.

Friday morning, senators voted 28-to-1 to suspend Democratic Senators Leland Yee, Ron Calderon and Rod Wright.

Steinberg said he changed his mind on the leaves of absence versus suspension issue after Yee was arrested earlier this week.

READ: Senator Yee Faces Long List of Charges

Yee faces accusations of trying to arrange an arms deal, and of political corruption.

Senator Calderon turned himself in to federal authorities last month after he was indicted on 26 corruption charges. Senator Wright was convicted of eight counts of elections fraud in January.

In February following Calderon’s charges, Steinberg said he called for his resignation and he was considering suspension because of the seriousness of the charges. He told FOX40 Senator Wright was not facing a suspension at the time because a trial judge’s ruling was being appealed.

WATCH: Senator Yee Talks to FOX40 about Gun Control, Assault Weapons Bill

State Senator Ron Calderon Given a Week to Resign

Yee, Noted Gun Control Advocate, Accused of Trafficking Guns

State Senate Won’t Expel Wright

DETAILS: Senator Yee Indicted on Arms Trafficking, Public Corruption Charges

WATCH: Agents Take Evidence from Senator Yee’s Office

 Steinberg to Yee: “This is Sickening”, “Leave”

SACRAMENTO-

Many were shocked when allegations of gun trafficking were brought against California State Senator Leland Yee, who was, at least publicly, a noted gun control advocate.

“No one in their right mind, I think, believes that you ought to have a military style weapon, carrying around and shooting,” Yee said in a March 4 Google+ Hangout with FOX40 viewers.

WATCH: Senator Yee Talks to FOX40 about Gun Control, Assault Weapons Bill

The senator is an active supporter of gun control legislation, authoring a number of bills that would curtail access to weapons and ammunition. Most recently, he cosigned Senate Bill 374, a measure that would have outlawed popular semi-automatic rifles in the State of California.

That measure was vetoed by Governor Brown.

“I am committed to this particular issue, and I am going to move this forward,” Yee said during the chat.

READ: Senator Yee Faces Long List of Charges

Meanwhile, according to an undercover FBI agent, Yee was working to arrange a meet-up between him and an international arms dealer for the express purpose of bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars in military grade weaponry into the country.

The criminal complaint against Leland Yee quotes him as saying to an undercover officer, on the subject of those weapons, “People want to get whatever they want to get. Do I care? No, I don’t care.”

Many of the same state senators Yee worked with on gun control legislation, Senator Darrell Steinberg, Senator Loni Hancock and Senator Kevin DeLeon, lined-up to call for Yee’s resignation when his arrest was announced Wednesday. There  are rumblings around the Statehouse that the Senate may take some kind of official action against Yee as early as Friday.

WATCH: Steinberg to Yee: “This is Sickening”; “Leave”

The State Senate’s Democratic Super majority has already been negated by scandals involving Democratic State Senators Roderick Wright and Ron Calderon.  So what’s the future for gun control efforts in Sacramento?

As one staffer put it: they still have the 21 votes they need to get a measure passed.

But this problem may not be mathematical one, it may be apolitical one.

READ the whole criminal document, list of charges

DETAILS: Senator Yee Indicted on Arms Trafficking, Public Corruption Charges

WATCH: Agents Take Evidence from Senator Yee’s Office

 Steinberg to Yee: “This is Sickening”, “Leave”

Yee

Senator Yee sits in the back of a car as he leaves a federal building in San Francisco Wednesday.

SACRAMENTO (LATimes.com)-

A day after he was arrested on suspicion of wire fraud and firearms trafficking, state Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) said Thursday he is dropping out of the race for secretary of state in this year’s election.

WATCH: Steinberg to Yee: “This is Sickening”; “Leave”

However, Yee’s decision came too late to take his name off the ballot for the June 3 primary, where it will appear along with seven other candidates seeking to become California’s top elections official.

Opponents in Secretary of State Race Comment After Senator Yee’s Arrest

“I hereby withdraw my candidacy for election of Secretary of State, effective immediately,” Yee wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

READ: Senator Yee Faces Long List of Charges

The state election code says that no candidate can withdraw from the ballot after their declaration of candidacy is filed, according to Shannan Velayas, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state.

But Yee is not going to be campaigning for the post, an advisor said.

Read more on LATimes.com

 

READ the whole criminal document, list of charges

DETAILS: Senator Yee Indicted on Arms Trafficking, Public Corruption Charges

WATCH: Agents Take Evidence from Senator Yee’s Office

 Steinberg to Yee: “This is Sickening”, “Leave”

Ask An Attorney
03/27/14

Ken Rosenfeld Discusses Yee Indictment

Paul Robins talks to FOX40 Legal Analyst Ken Rosenfeld about the charges facing Senator Leland Yee.

SAN FRANCISCO-

State Senator Leland Yee bailed out Wednesday night, and will be at his home this weekend waiting for another court appearance Monday.

The senator is accused by the FBI of trying to connect an undercover FBI agent with an arms dealer with ties to Russia that Yee claimed to know. The deal was being done with the blessing of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow.

Chow is reportedly a “reformed” gangster after time in jail. But the FBI says he still leads the Chinese underground in San Francisco.

VIDEO: FBI Agents Leave Senator Yee’s Office with Boxes of Evidence

Outside court Wednesday, Yee’s defender would not comment on whether the senator would return to the legislature or continue his Secretary of State campaign.

 Steinberg to Yee: “This is Sickening”, “Leave”

READ the whole criminal document, list of charges

Opponents in Secretary of State Race Comment After Senator Yee’s Arrest

DETAILS: Senator Yee Indicted on Arms Trafficking, Public Corruption Charges

WATCH: Agents Take Evidence from Senator Yee’s Office

 

SACRAMENTO-

A few hours after A California State Senator was arrested and taken to a federal building for questioning, Senate Democratic leader Darryl Steinberg minced no words for his co-worker.

“This is sickening,” Steinberg told reporters. “Leave,” he directed at Leland Yee. Steinberg said although Yee is innocent until proven guilty, the charges are a violation of public trust. He told Yee to resign, or said lawmakers would “go to the floor and suspend him”.

READ the whole criminal document, list of charges

Meanwhile, in another part of the State Capitol, FBI agents wheeled cartloads of documents out of Senator Yee’s office Wednesday. They presumably contain evidence of wrong-doing in the corruption case against Yee.

VIDEO: FBI Agents Leave Senator Yee’s Office with Boxes of Evidence

The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms asked that FBI agents’ faces remain off-camera as they shuttled in-and-out of the fourth floor offices.

Part of Steinberg’s visible frustration could also be from embarrassment; these same Democratic leaders just a few weeks ago sponsored ethics legislation designed to remove campaign construction temptations from senators seeking re-election.

Yee is also the third Democrat this year to be indicted for alleged corruption; Ron Calderon’s case is pending trial, and Senator Rob Wright was convicted of elections fraud when he was found to be living outside his district.

Both Wright and Calderon were granted leaves of absence from the legislature.

READ: Senator Calderon Given a Week to Resign

Steinberg says he won’t let the scandals diminish the work of the senate.

With Yee’s removal, and other recent departures of Democratic lawmakers at the capitol, it is likely Republicans will now regain the power to block Democratic initiatives that require a two-thirds vote.

Yee’s arrest has other political implications; he was running for Secretary of State. His opponent Derek Cressman wouldn’t say if Yee should quit the campaign for statewide office, but did comment on his position in the senate.

“I think the bar for serving in public office should be higher than the bar for staying out of prison,” Cressman said.

Cressman worked on campaign finance reform for nearly two decades with Common Cause and other watch dog groups.

He says the arrest of Yee and two of his colleagues speaks to a broken system.

“There’s something going on that turns good people bad serving in the California legislature and that’s a pretty serious problem for us to grapple with as Californians,” Cressman told FOX40.

READ the whole criminal document, list of charges

Opponents in Secretary of State Race Comment After Senator Yee’s Arrest

DETAILS: Senator Yee Indicted on Arms Trafficking, Public Corruption Charges

WATCH: Agents Take Evidence from Senator Yee’s Office

SACRAMENTO-

As recently as 12 days ago, Senator Leland Yee was brokering a firearms deal with an undercover FBI agent and a close associate, Keith Jackson, according to a federal indictment.

The indictment reveals details behind his arrest, and several raids across the region Wednesday at Yee’s State Capitol offices and in the Bay Area.

READ the whole criminal document, list of charges

At times, they discussed how they would “break up cash” from gun and drug deals into “legitimate campaign donations” for Yee’s current run for Secretary of State.

“Leland Yee was never seen as a shadowy figure. So it’s so shocking, because it’s not someone who had that sort of reputation,” said Gary Dietrich, FOX40’s political analyst.

Also shocking, allegations that since March of 2011, Yee has been running with Chinese organized crime group CTK, the Chee Kung Tong, and its leader, known as “Shrimp Boy”.

They’re accused of taking cash to pay down $70,000 worth of old campaign debt for Yee’s failed run for mayor of San Francisco.

VIDEO: Agents Leave Senator’s Office with Evidence

One alleged associate of Yee’s  talked about him promising this being a “good year for medical marijuana legislation” based on the favors he was promising on Yee’s behalf for donations.

Another alleged transaction, mentions promise of contracts for a client of an undercover FBI agent; contracts with the California Department of Public Health.

Yee, now the third California Democrat indicted in the last few months for public corruption and misuse of office, is making it tough on his party’s agenda.

Their absence in the legislature means the State Democrats no longer have a super majority; meaning they won’t be able to push through measures and amendments that would require a two-thirds majority.
Yee’s also taking his knocks from an old adversary – Rush Limbaugh.

Yee attacked the talk-show host back in 2011 for mocking the Chinese Premier, and Wednesday, Rush took the opportunity to go on the attack.

On his radio broadcast, Limbaugh called Yee out for pointing fingers while doing the kind of things that he’s “never dreamed of”.

READ the whole criminal document, list of charges

Opponents in Secretary of State Race Comment After Senator Yee’s Arrest

DETAILS: Senator Yee Indicted on Arms Trafficking, Public Corruption Charges

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