The U.S. attorney’s office is seeking 96 months in custody, three years of supervised release and a $25,000 fine for former California Sen. Leland Yee, who pleaded guilty last July to one count of felony racketeering.
In a sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday, Brian Stretch, acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, cited a “pattern of corruption” and the “cynical, rather than altruistic, nature” of Yee’s public service in asking the court to impose a harsh sentence on the San Francisco Democrat. Stretch argued that providing Yee, 67, with a slap on the wrist would invite other elected officials to follow his lead in trading campaign contributions for political favors.
“Apart from providing just punishment for Yee, lengthy prison term will serve an equally important purpose in promoting deterrence and respect for the law,” Stretch wrote. “Others who may consider taking Yee’s path of expediency in order to deal with the intense demands of campaign fundraising will know that the consequences of such conduct are real and severe.”
Yee was one of more than two dozen people arrested in March 2014 as part of a sweeping federal investigation into a Bay Area organized crime ring run by Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a longtime associate. Amid allegations that he offered to introduce an undercover FBI agent to another state senator with influence over medical marijuana legislation and secure shoulder-fired missiles and automatic weapons from the Philippines, among other actions to retire $70,000 in debt from an unsuccessful run for San Francisco mayor, Yee dropped out of the secretary of state race and was suspended from the Senate with pay.
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Yee is scheduled to be sentenced next Wednesday in San Francisco. He could get up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.