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.

by

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.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

144 comments
SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Just tell them the GTA series made you do it Yee. I'm sure you'll walk. XD

Gazdakka
Gazdakka

I'm sure I know what his primary defence is going to be:

"Video games made me do it!"

Go eat a bag of dicks, Yee...

emperiox
emperiox

Throw this shitbag in an injection bed. I can't believe he was pushing for gun control as he was secretly smuggling weapons for a gang. What a piece of crap.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Most criminals plead not guilty. While everyone is innocent until proven guilty, I'd like to see him get convicted for the sake of irony/poetic justice.

RenegadeGR
RenegadeGR

throw this hypocrite in jail already

DefconRave
DefconRave

Maybe he'll get to play violent video games in prison.

noandno
noandno

I know this sounds evil but...

Hang this guy.

pip3dream
pip3dream

Holy shit?????   This is for real?  Politics are so fucked!

EatShanna
EatShanna

Dude's a real life GTA character, LMAO.


I hope GTA VI features a character based on him.

UnrealPro
UnrealPro

I hope this guy rots in prison for the rest of his miserable life. Such a pathetic and at the same time dangerous hypocrite. Just think if this sniveling weasel did become secretary of state and was still doing these undercover deals and arms trafficking.

Xx_DemonSoul_xX
Xx_DemonSoul_xX

You have to love a piece of shit like this. He whines and cries about the violence in video games yet this whole time he's been trafficking guns. Yes... videogames are the real bad guys... not scumbag politicians that have been trafficking illegal guns. Unbelievable.

Saromus
Saromus

TALK ABOUT HYPOCRITICAL!!!???

blutfahne
blutfahne

Just know that all scumbag politicians are like this. Seriously how you think the entire 3rd world got armed with ak47, rpg and night vision.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

Haha, what a peice of $h1t.

I hope he rots in prison.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Gee, it only took you a month to post this article.

DaSlyOne
DaSlyOne

Don't throw stones when you live in a glass house. Yee have little faith! 

apolloooo
apolloooo

this guy needs to shut the **** up and just go to prison

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

Leland Yee has just got to quiet down.  He has no credibility in this investigation.  This is all about his lust for the position of secretary of state and his lust for money.  This is about his self-interest.

santinegrete
santinegrete

He is also linked with Gun ilegal business? Makes me wonder if there's a tie with how much the NRA tried to blame the sandy hook tragedy on videogames alone.

tachsniper
tachsniper

fry his ass, finally make an example of what we the people do to corrupt politicians. "Arranging an international weapons transaction"? 


somehow the words "high treason" come to mind.

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

Maybe if he had got his fix of being a bad ass and breaking the law from a video game like we do he wouldn't have done it in real life. GTA could have saved this man!

balrogbane
balrogbane

He must be wearing fire proof pants.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

Holy cow, are you serious?  One of the biggest proponents that video games lead to violence is accused of supporting illegal weapons trafficking?  That is wrong on so many levels.


I'm sure he'll pull out some pretty expensive lawyers, though three years of undercover FBI evidence will be hard to beat.  I used to think he was just solely misguided, but now he comes off as two-faced scum.


Apparently video games don't lead to violence.  Senators do.

chewbacca72
chewbacca72

Too bad a good lawyer requires a season pass and a few more DLCs.

kryotech
kryotech

I'll bet he wishes he was playing GTA4 instead of doing that shit in real life...

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

I'm waiting for the "videogames made me do it!" defense. Because they're evil and cause violent, deviant behavior, everyone knows that.

Right? Right!

Emb3r
Emb3r

I can see the meme already. Scumbag Leland Yee "says video games are a link to crime, gets arrested in undercover sting operation"

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

I'd respect him a little if he plead guilty to being a piece of ****.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

He can't plead not guilty! He has no grounds to plead not guilty! Pleading not guilty is just serving his own self interests and thus shouldn't have a say in this case! He needs to just shut up!


Also, "bags of cash." What is this? The wild west? Did they meet in a Saloon to discuss their next big train heist?

delcidanddarth
delcidanddarth

For everyone saying how ironic or hypocritical this is, go look up the definitions of these words. I'm not going to argue with anyone here... just go educate yourself and be a more learned person.


Also, Yee sucks at just about everything (except for sucking at stuff, I guess).

eldak
eldak

@santinegrete  He is also a big gun control supporter. Guess he just cares about keeping the guns out of the hands of honest citizens though, not criminals.

AlvinFox
AlvinFox

@chibi-acer Well he had to play the games to determine if they lead to violence.


Holy shit, what if he really goes with that in court?

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

@---Cipher---  Granted my knowledge on the matter is based on fictional crime TV drama, but apparently a lot of corrupt politicians want cash because it's much harder to trace.  Normally there are limits to how much funding they can spend on their election campaigns, but with cash it's like getting paid under the table.

ShimmeringSword
ShimmeringSword

@---Cipher--- What, you think he's going to accept traceable cheques as bribe money and during arms deals? Bags of cash is exactly what it means, a bag of cash.


The 'guilty' and 'not guilty' pleas are just customary, you can admit your crimes or you can fight them. In the end due process will decide the truth. If there's a chance for him to dodge some or all of his jail time, why wouldn't he plead that way?

naz99
naz99

@delcidanddarth  Wow Mr high and mighty.....Gather round guys we all need to bow at this learned persons feet...


I bet we all wish we was as intelligent as you.....

aci808
aci808

Cool story brah. Do you know what hypocrite means?

delcidanddarth
delcidanddarth

@naz99  Not a matter of intelligence. Just go look it up and educate yourself... then you'll be just as learned as me.

ShimmeringSword
ShimmeringSword

@aci808 He's right though, this isn't ironic and is only slightly hypocritical (for trying to fight crime while being a criminal). To be so he'd have to be a gamer himself. He's just a bad guy, trying to create laws while breaking other ones.

delcidanddarth
delcidanddarth

@naz99  Me: "Just go look it up and educate yourself"
You: "No i would be as douchey and full of myself as you"

Thus, you have declared that being educated makes you douchey. Sorry if I jumped from "douchey" to "terrible", I figured that was the connotation. I never claimed you didn't know the definitions, I merely parroted (sarcastically) your disdain for people educating themselves. And it was by your own impatience to reply that you jumped from my request for people to educate themselves to my lording over them with a supposed superior intelligence. Would you propose that anyone who asks you to go look something up as one who lords? I said nothing demeaning to anyone, just a request.


Also, if you plan take the last resort of a troll and correct my grammar ("cuz" is a perfectly acceptable shorthand for "because" on the internet, btw), then you should learn to spell "hypocrisy" and "too" correctly. Quite the hypocrite, indeed.

naz99
naz99

@delcidanddarth @naz99  ??????


when did I say knowing stuff is terrible?

When did I claim I did not know what irony and hipocrisy is???


The problem here is you lording your supposed intelligence over people that know as much as you...


On a gaming forum of all places which is just........sad.


Oh and Cuz = Because

Learn to spell......

See I can do it do....now i have stooped to your level

delcidanddarth
delcidanddarth

@chibi-acer @ShimmeringSword @aci808  Fine, I'll be a hypocrite and argue despite my OP that said I wouldn't. Slow work day.

His stance on violent video games has very little to do with allegedly smuggling arms. Yee thinks there's a connection between violent video games and violence in children. Unless he was putting those machine guns in the hands of children, they are unrelated. It might make more sense to attribute hypocrisy to his stance on gun control (he's super pro-gun control), but he's not actually being a hypocrite about that, either. He wants tougher laws for people legally obtaining firearms. Smuggling in "high-powered weaponry" is definitely not for law-abiding citizens, so his gun control stance has little to do with these allegations. His actions can actually be seen as logical (from a purely economic standpoint), as he is increasing demand for weapons (by lobbying for strict gun control), and he stands to profit more from this.

Now, if he lobbied for strict gun control, while owning a vast collection of guns that would be illegal under those laws, that would be hypocritical. Or, if he smuggled in weapons for gangs, yet had a stance that said we need to crack down on gangs because they are causing violence, that would also be hypocritical.

Anyways, this is exactly why I asked people to educate themselves. It's very easy to fall into a logical fallacy when a public person tries to tell others what to do, but then gets caught committing a crime, and judge everything about him even if it's unrelated. Not that Yee deserves a fair shake, but generally, it's a good principle to follow.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

@ShimmeringSword @aci808  It is hypocritical.  He campaigns against things (video games) for supposedly causing violence, yet secretly contributes to actions (illegal weapons) that definitely cause violence.