• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Leland Yee withdraws from secretary of state race

State Sen. Leland Yee is withdrawing from the secretary of state race to fight charges of corruption and weapons trafficking.
March 27, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
State Sen. Leland Yee is withdrawing from the secretary of state race to fight charges of corruption and weapons trafficking.

His attorney made the announcement during a press conference Thursday afternoon. Yee has kept a low profile since being released on $500,000 bond.

Yee was arrested Wednesday as part of a series of FBI raids in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area, authorities said. He is vigorously denying the charges. Democratic leaders asked Yee to resign and stripped him of committee assignments.

The state senator is charged with six counts of depriving the public of honest services and one count of conspiracy to traffic in guns without a license. He and 25 other men are named in the criminal complaint filed this week.

Court documents say Yee or one of his campaign staffers accepted at least $42,800 in cash or campaign contributions from undercover FBI agents in exchange for carrying out agents' requests. The outspoken gun control advocate is also accused of trying to help an undercover agent obtain weapons from a Muslim rebel group.

The FBI served a number of arrest and search warrants in the San Francisco area Wednesday morning. A second man, Raymond Chow, also known as "Shrimp Boy," who heads a fraternal organization in San Francisco's Chinatown, was also arrested, FBI spokesman Peter Lee said.

Yee performed "official acts" in exchange for donations from undercover FBI agents, as he sought to dig himself out of a $70,000 debt incurred during a failed San Francisco mayoral bid, according to court documents.

Yee is also accused of accepting $10,000 in January 2013 from an undercover agent in exchange for his making a call to the California Department of Public Health in support of a contract under consideration with the agency.

Federal officials also accuse Yee of conspiracy to deal firearms and wire fraud.

Yee had raised $800,000 for his secretary of state race. According to recent filings, he'd already spent all but $134,000 of it. That remaining money can be used for his legal defense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Load Comments