SAN FRANCISCO – Former State Senator Leland Yee pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco to one count of racketeering conspiracy to accept campaign contributions as bribes.
Yee’s sentence will be carried out this October with a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
By admitting guilt, Yee and his lawyers worked with the prosecution to avoid a lengthy trial and the risk of conviction on a more serious charge.
Yee also hopes his plea will receive a lessened sentence.
In a written plea agreement, Yee admitted to seven acts to commit conspiracy, including accepting over $34,000 in campaign contributions in exchange for his political influence.
Yee also admitted to three other acts of discussing plans to receive unspecified payments in exchange for either his campaign for San Francisco mayor or California Secretary of State.
Former San Francisco School Board President and Yee’s former fundraiser and political consultant Keith Jackson also pleaded guilty to the same count.
Yee admitted to accept over $6,000 for arranging a meeting that included himself, Jackson, late Filipino-American Daly city dentist Wilson Lim, and an undercover FBI agent to plan a gun smuggling deal from the Philippines.
Charges of 12 other crimes by Yee including fraud and conspiracy to traffic firearms without a license will now be dropped.
Yee’s attorney, James Lassart, was not available for comment but Jackson’s attorney James Brosnahan slammed the FBI for the entrapment.
“Is this government doing what we want them to do,” asked Brosnahan. “Do we really want Washington people sitting back there doing this? My answer is no. We don’t.”
Yee and Jackson are free on bail while awaiting sentencing.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer is now determining Yee’s sentence.