SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – An attorney for an ex-California state senator convicted of racketeering and gunrunning asked a judge to consider the senator’s long history of public service and his wife’s illness and sentence him to no more than five years and three months in prison, below the 8-year sentence recommended by prosecutors.
Leland Yee has accepted responsibility for his crime and has otherwise led an exemplary life, his attorney, James Lassart, said in a sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday.
Lassart also said Yee’s wife is suffering from a life-threatening illness and requires his help with daily tasks, and that federal authorities manipulated one of Yee’s co-defendants, who made statements that implicated Yee.
“Unfortunately, Yee did not adhere to his lifetime principles of honesty and integrity,” Lassart wrote. “He recognizes that his actions were wrong and he is remorseful and deeply regrets his conduct.”
Prosecutors said in their sentencing memo that an 8-year sentence would reflect the “breadth and length” of Yee’s crimes and act as a deterrent to others.
Yee is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 24 after pleading guilty in July to one count of conspiracy to engage in racketeering. He was convicted of soliciting and accepting bribes in exchange for providing help from Sacramento and conspiring to import weapons and ammunition into the U.S.
Yee was arrested in 2014 as part of an organized crime probe centered in San Francisco’s Chinatown that ensnared Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, the head of the Chinese fraternal organization the Ghee Kung Tong, and others. A jury convicted Chow last month of racketeering, murder and scores of other crimes.