Leland Yee appears in court, bail kept at $500,000

State Senator Leland Yee appeared briefly in federal court Monday, but did not enter a plea to the corruption charges against him.
March 31, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
State Senator Leland Yee appeared briefly in federal court Monday, but did not enter a plea to the corruption charges against him. Yee said nothing as he was swarmed by the media leaving the federal courthouse in San Francisco.

Yee was told that his bail will remain at $500,000 while he awaits a trial.

For the first time the State Senator's attorney talked about the case, questioning the timing of Yee's arrest on corruption and gun trafficking charges after an investigation that began back in 2011.

"What took so long, if they thought there was wrong doing on his part, why did it take three years?" asked Yee's defense attorney Paul DeMeester.

DeMeester says after looking over the 137-page complaint, he questions the allocation of federal resources to the lengthy investigation and the fairness to Yee and the public.

"And finally towards the end, and you can read that in the complaint. They, kind of, they pushed this notion of this arms dealing," said DeMeester.

But, the federal complaint alleges a willing Yee saying, "People want to get whatever they want to get. Do I care? No, I don't care. People need certain things."

"Entrapment is always a defense we have to consider," said DeMeester.

Former public defender and professor of law at Golden Gate University Peter Keane, however, says the entrapment defense rarely ever works.

"Someone is saying, essentially, 'the devil made me do it.' In this case, 'the government made me do it.' You have to show that you would not have been inclined to commit the crime had it not been for the government's conduct. That's virtually impossible for a defendant to show," said Keane.

Keane says both sides are battling to influence the public and the 12 members who will eventually make up a jury.


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