California state Sen. Leland Yee and his wife, Maxine Yee, wait to cast their ballots in San Francisco in November 2011. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
California state Sen. Leland Yee and his wife, Maxine Yee, wait to cast their ballots in San Francisco in November 2011. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Federal prosecutors and lawyers for Leland Yee, the embattled state senator embroiled in a massive corruption case, are still negotiating terms of the politician’s release pending trial. He is charged with accepting bribes and coordinating an arms trafficking scheme.

Yee, 65, appeared briefly in federal court this morning, dressed in a suit and tie, The Associated Press reports. He smiled several times. The Democrat was ordered to return to court on April 8 to finalize bond.

He is currently free on a $500,000 unsecured bond, but prosecutors want property he owns used as collateral to guarantee that he appears at all court hearings. He was arrested Wednesday as part of a massive five-year FBI sting operation.

Yee, a longtime champion of good government and gun control — whose district includes San Francisco and part of San Mateo County — is one of 26 people, including former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson, charged in a 137-page federal complaint. Charges include murder for hire, money laundering and drug-dealing.

Yee’s attorney, Paul DeMeester, said he expects a grand jury indictment next week, at which time he will enter a not guilty plea for his client.

After the hearing, the lawyer told reporters, including KQED’s Tara Siler, that the length of time the FBI devoted to the probe raised questions about the allocation of scarce federal resources and about fairness to Leland Yee and the public. Asked about entrapment as a defense, he said it’s always something that has to be considered.

Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a convicted felon and Chinatown gang leader who allegedly went straight, is also a major figure in the corruption case. He, too, appeared in court today — shackled and in a jail-issued yellow jumpsuit — with the expectation that he would be assigned a lawyer.

That didn’t happen — he’s still without legal counsel. He’ll return to court on Wednesday, and Jackson will appear tomorrow.

The state Senate voted Friday to suspend Yee and and two other Democratic members of the state Senate, who are at the center of high-profile criminal cases. A resolution to suspend Sens. Leland Yee, Ron Calderon and Roderick Wright, with pay, passed by a 28-1 vote.

Leland Yee Remains Free on $500,000 Bail After Court Hearing 28 April,2014KQED News Staff and Wires

  • Gary

    Haven’t heard of an “unsecured bond” since the assistant football coach at Penn State was first arrested. Prosecutors were lucky that defendant did not flee.

    • scout

      translation: Courts are Marxist. Yee is Marxist. anti-Americans protect their own. Yee has done this often. Our DC dork, the Attorney General, what’s his name, DID SAME BEHAVIOR, BUT MEGA WORSE.. My point is that this happens often. Question: Why was Yee targeted? I suspect we don’t know the entire case and especially what’s outside the case. The gov will not talk about the REAL reason Yee, a known communist, in our country overrun by Marxists and all levels of government, was targeted. Yee would do well to spill his guts.

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