Former California State Sen. Leland Yee appeared in a U.S. District Court Wednesday and pleaded guilty to a single count of racketeering.
Yee, ironically known for his gun control legislation, was arrested last March on a host of charges including plotting to smuggle guns into the country via Islamic terror groups. This left may gun control advocates, who up until that time held the San Francisco-based politician as a champion in the crusade for tougher gun laws, dismayed.
Wednesday, Yee appeared before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer along with three other defendants in the case, political consultant Keith Jackson, his son, Brandon Jackson, and former sports agent Marlon Sullivan, for the purpose of changing their former not guilty pleas.
Facing potentially the rest of his life in prison, Yee’s legal team entered a plea of guilty to one felony count of racketeering.
Caught in an expansive federal investigation spanning over four years, Yee allegedly took over $40,000 in donations, many in cash, from undercover agents during the course of the investigation. These payoffs were in exchange for certain official acts including making phone calls to state officials to influence contracts.
Just before his arrest, Yee facilitated a meeting with an arms dealer contact of his and undercover agents for buying up to $2.5 million worth weapons that ranged from small arms to missile launchers.
On top of this, federal prosecutors hit Yee with further money laundering charges this February stemming from a $12,600 deposit made into his accounts that were allegedly the product of unlawful activity .
This week, court filings tied some of the same slush funds associated with Yee to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee while the federal probe reached as far as Joe Montana, Suge Knight, Katt Williams, and Too $hort, though they were not implicated in the alleged wrongdoing.
Judge Breyer accepted Yee’s plea and set his formal sentencing for Oct. 21.
The plea hearings for the Jacksons and Sullivan are scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon.