A federal grand jury has added a racketeering charge to suspended California State Senator (D- San Francisco) Leland Yee's list of charges which includes gun-trafficking, corruption, and other felony counts. The indictment came Thursday and supersedes the charges that prosecutors filed in March against Yee, alleged Chinatown mobster leader Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, Yee campaign consultant Keith Jackson, and dozens of other defendants.
In its initial indictment, federal prosecutors alleged that Yee accepted checks and "bags of cash" from undercover operatives to pay off his campaign debts and help fund his bid to become secretary of state. He also allegedly tried to facilitate an international arms deal with an undercover agent, promising to arrange shipments of high-powered weaponry from rebel groups in the Philippines for money.
The new racketeering count alleges Yee and Jackson solicited bribes in return for Yee's work to help a phony business set up by the FBI; to issue a proclamation praising Chow's Chee Kung Tong community organization; and on issues such as medical marijuana, regulation of the mixed martial arts industry, and workers compensation insurance for professional athletes.
The defendants also conspired to take and conceal campaign contributions larger than those allowed by law, the indictment alleges.
The indictment is based on a three-year undercover FBI investigation in which Yee was allegedly involved in cutting illegal deals with agents posing as everything from East Coast mafia members to an Arizona businessman looking to expand into the medical marijuana business in California.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops.
Yee is best known to gamers as the California state senator who successfully got a law passed banning the sale of "mature" rated games in 2005. The law was put on hold shortly after by a California court. It took nearly five years but the case ultimately made it to the Supreme Court, where the law was deemed to be a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution...