Anti-game senator Leland Yee pleads not guilty to gun trafficking and corruption charges
65-year-old San Francisco Democrat enters plea in court this week.
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Anti-game California state senator Leland Yee pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal gun trafficking and political corruption charges. As the San Jose Mercury News points out, this is the first step in the process that will determine if the 65-year-old San Francisco Democrat will spend the rest of his life in federal prison. Yee was arrested as part of a sting operation on March 26 in San Francisco.
Yee, through his lawyer, entered his plea during a federal court appearance in San Francisco. He is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for political favors and reportedly arranging an international weapons transaction.
Appearing in court with his wife Maxine at his side, Yee offered up his Sunset District home as a bond to allow himself to remain out of jail while the legal process gets underway. Yee will appear in court again this Friday before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer.
Prosecutors claim that Yee accepted checks and "bags of cash" from undercover FBI agents to pay off his campaign debts and to assist in funding his bid to become secretary of state. As for the arms trafficking claims levied against him, prosecutors say Yee attempted to orchestrate a deal with an undercover agent whereby he would arrange to ship "high-powered weaponry" from rebel groups in the Philippines in exchange for money.
Yee's indictment is the result of a three-year undercover FBI investigation that claims he was involved in making deals with agents who posed as everything from mafia members to businessmen. According to an FBI affidavit, Yee was even involved in such meeting as recently as mid-March 2014.
An outspoken critic of the video game industry, Yee is best known to gamers as the man who put forth the much-publicized violent game law that the United States Supreme Court struck down in 2011.