Former California state senator Leland Yee, who was charged with conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms among many other charges, plead guilty to racketeering in federal court Wednesday.
Yee admitted that he “knowingly and intentionally agreed with another person” to illegally affect state commerce. He also acknowledged he changed his plea to guilty under no duress, and that he is aware of his guilt.
“Are you pleading guilty of your own free will because you are guilty,” asked U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer.
“I am,” Yee responded.
Yee was the focus of a nearly four-year FBI investigation, which, under false pretenses, enlisted his help to smuggle automatic weapons and shoulder-fired rockets into the country through such channels as Islamic terror groups.
The racketeering charges came after Yee attempted to extort campaign contributions from an NFL team owner. He was charged with one count of “conspiracy to conduct affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity,” and two counts of conspiracy “to obtain property under the color of official right.”
Yee faces up to 20 years in prison along with substantial fines. The official sentence will be handed down on Oct. 21.
(This article was a submission by freelance writer Brent Rogers)