Former California state senator Leland Yee was sentenced to five years in prison by a federal judge this week after he acknowledged in a plea deal that he accepted thousands of dollars in bribes and discussed helping an undercover FBI agent buy automatic weapons from the Philippines.
Yee has been known as an outspoken gun control advocate. Senior District Court Judge Charles Breyer called the weapons allegations against him unfathomable and said it was frightening that Yee would be willing to go entirely against his public position on guns in exchange for money, according to this story from the New York Post.
“I don’t feel I sould be lenient,” Breyer said during the hearing, according to the story. “The crimes that you committed have resulted in essentially an attack on democratic institutions.”
Yee, a former Democratic State Senator for District 8, which covers parts of the San Francisco region, could have been sentenced to as much as six years by the guidelines, and the story says prosecutors had recommended an eight-year sentence.
“Nothing will ever take away those crimes and those actions,” Yee said in the story. “Nothing that I will ever do will take away the pain that I have caused to my family, friends, constituents, supporters.”
Yee won’t begin his sentence for 30 days. He acknowledged accepting $11,000 in exchange for setting up a meeting with another state senator, $10,000 for recommending someone for a grant, and $6,800 for providing a certificate on California State Senate letterhead honoring the Ghee King Tong.
The full-auto weapons he discussed helping an undercover FBI agent buy from the Phillipines were intended for distributions on the U.S. black market.