Former State Senator Leland Yee has had quite a fall. We have been following him since we started this site nearly five years ago. We even talked about him in pervious shows. This was a man that fought against video game violence because he thought that it would harm the youth of this country, not thinking that helping smuggle guns in this country would do more harm than any version of Grand Theft Auto would do.
On Wednesday, he pled guilty to racketeering charges in connection with two criminal enterprises during an afternoon appearance in federal court in San Francisco. He currently faces the possibility (probably not since our justice system favors political officials and celebrities) 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution for each of the two counts. Sentencing will be handed down on October 21, 2015.
“Mr. Yee must now live with the consequences of betraying the trust that was placed in him when he became a public servant,” U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said in a prepared statement. “It is particularly disappointing and troubling when our elected officials violate their obligation to fairly represent their constituents. This office will continue to devote the resources necessary to ensure that our elected officials govern within the law.”
For those of you that are not in the know, Yee was a representative for San Mateo and part of San Francisco, also a Democrat, and was a vocal opponent of video game violence. He was the leader of a charge to get violent video games banned or develop special laws to have games like GTA, Red Dead Redemption and others treated like pornography.
His 2005 bill was the basis for Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, a 2011 Supreme Court decision that ruled that video games were protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
His downfall occurred in 2014, when he and defendant Keith Jackson were arrested on accepting bribes, extorting money and offered to smuggle weapons from the Philippines into the United States for undercover FBI agents, who he thought were connected to the New Jersey mob. According to the indictment, he and Jackson raised campaign funds for both Yee’s Secretary of State campaign and mayoral run for a range of requests.
It would seem that Yee’s passion to protect our children was a smokescreen to cover up his illegal activities. Figuring that he was doing good to keep violence away from children, no would expect him to sell out his own convictions for money. The plea agreement would have him pleading guilty to racketeering and all other charges be dismissed. Glad this guy went down.