Ex-California State Senator Leland Yee was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday after admitting in a plea deal that he traded political favors for contributions to his campaign.

Yee admitted in a plea deal that he was part of a racketeering conspiracy that involved exchanging official acts for money, conspiring to traffic in weapons and money laundering. Specifically, Lee promised an undercover FBI agent favors in return for campaign contributions.

During the hour-long proceedings, Yee asked the court for leniency in light of his public humiliation, his wife’s severe illness, his admissions of wrongdoing and his past record of public service.

Federal Judge Charles Breyer says that he feels that there was no need to be lenient towards Yee.


“The crimes that you committed have resulted in essentially an attack on democratic institutions,” the judge told Yee. Breyer said Yee made it adamantly clear that his Senate ballot was up for sale.

“That in the court’s view is very serious violation of trust. Votes are not for sale. Positions are not for sale. And your conduct … indicating that it was for sale was a violation of trust.”

Yee was also fined $20,000 for his crimes.