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Lawmaker Yee's Lawyer Questions FBI Investigation

California state Sen. Leland Yee's official portrait.
Leland Yee's Senate office
California state Sen. Leland Yee's official portrait.

A lawyer for a California state senator charged with bribery and gun trafficking has questioned the three-year FBI investigation that led to the arrest.

Sen. Leland Yee's attorney, Paul DeMeester, on Monday asked why it took until Wednesday for the FBI to file charges when it appeared the investigation of his client began in 2011.

DeMeester in particular questioned why the FBI appeared to shift the focus of its probe from a cash-for-influence case to an investigation of alleged connections to international arms dealers.


Yee hasn't entered a plea yet, but DeMeester previously said the senator plans to plead not guilty.

Yee, who is free on $500,000 bond, appeared briefly in federal court in San Francisco Monday to discuss details of his release before trial. His next court date is April 8.

The senator was charged last week after an elaborate FBI sting of organized crime in San Francisco's Chinatown ensnared the Democrat and his political fundraiser Keith Jackson.

A federal complaint claims Yee and Jackson hooked an undercover agent up with an arms trafficker, and traded political favors for cash.

Since his arrest, Yee has dropped his campaign for California secretary of state, and he was suspended by the state Senate on Friday.