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FBI says: Senator Leland Yee tells undercover agents they can trade weapons, make money

by AirTalk®

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California State senator and candidate for San Francisco mayor Leland Yee smiles while campaigning along Hayes Street on November 7, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

State Sen. Leland Yee was arrested on corruption and firearms trafficking charges yesterday, as part of an extensive FBI operation that netted 26 people across the Bay Area.

Yee, a prominent Asian American political leader in California, was arraigned on seven charges. An indictment unsealed by prosecutors yesterday accused Yee of accepting campaign donations from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for political favors. He is also accused to trying to help an undercover agent get weapons.

If convicted on all counts, Yee could face up to 125 years in prison. This is the third high-profile scandal facing California Senate Democrats this year. In January,a Los Angeles County jury found Sen. Rod Wright of Baldwin Hills guilty of eight counts of voter fraud and perjury. Sen. Ron Calderon of Montebello is facing corruption charges alleging that he took kickbacks while in office.

Yee’s indictment sparked shock and outrage across the state. Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has called for Yee's immediate resignation. "We're going to demand that Leland Yee -- yes, innocent until proven guilty -- leave the Senate and leave it now," Steinberg said at a news conference, adding that the Senate is ready to suspend him.


Mattias Gafni, Investigative Reporter, Bay Area News Group

Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, Democratic Assemblymember representing the 58th district including Bell Gardens, Artesia and Norwalk and chair of Assembly ethics committee.

Harmeet Dhillon, Vice Chair of the California Republican Party; co-founder of the San Francisco-based law firm Dhillon and Smith

Carla Marinucci, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle

Dan Walters, Political Columnist, The Sacramento Bee

David Lee, Director, Chinese American Voters Education Committee,  based in San Francisco; Lee has worked with Yee in the past.

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