CA senator pleads not guilty to racketeering linked to PH arms deal

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

July 31, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO – Suspended Senator Leland Yee, who advocated for Filipino World War II veterans’ equity in the past, pleaded not guilty in a San Francisco court Thursday to new racketeering charges against him — which include helping set up an arms deal in the Philippines.

The 66-year-old Democrat was dressed in a dark grey suit and purple tie and remained silent as his lawyer James Lassart entered his not guilty plea.

According to his indictment, Yee was in financial debt due to a failed mayoral run and needed money for his Secretary of State campaign.

Prosecutors say Yee, who was once known as a progressive Democrat who pushed for gun control bills, allegedly attempted to accept money from undercover agents to facilitate an operation to smuggle illegal firearms from the Philippines. The arms deal was reportedly worth $2 million and involved Filipino American Daly City dentist Dr. Wilson Lim.

If convicted on all counts, Yee could be sentenced to up to 165 years in prison and be forced to pay penalties worth as much as $2.25 million.

Yee and his attorney left the court house separately but Yee did talk to the media outside by asking: “How you guys doing?” He declined to comment any further.

He was then picked up in a champagne colored Toyota.

Yee is set to return to court next Thursday to appear before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer who will then set a roadmap to the case as it proceeds to trial.

You can contact Rommel at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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  • Max
    31 July 2014 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Sen Yee on racketeering charge, not for gun running,helping to the PH muslim rebel to acquire STINGER-shouldered fire rocket. He is a Democrat, the judge is also a Democrat appointed by Bill Clinton. “What are we in power for.” It is racist to punished a Democrat of Asian ethnicity. Verdict not guilty, for lack of evidence,only one week community service.

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