FBI searches legislative office near Capitol
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — FBI agents on Tuesday searched a legislative office belonging to state Sen. Leland Yee, a San Francisco Democrat who was arrested and charged last week as part of a wider federal investigation into criminal activity in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
The small office is on the fifth floor of the Legislative Office Building across the street from the state Capitol, said Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
Senate officials discovered that the office was assigned to Yee and informed the FBI, which obtained a warrant allowing the search. Agents had searched Yee’s main office in the Capitol last week.
“We did what we would normally do and double-checked to see if there were any other computers or ancillary offices that were assigned to Sen. Yee,” Hedlund said. “We contacted the FBI and said, ‘Hey, we thought you’d want to know there’s this other office with a computer that’s connected to Sen. Yee.’”
Gina Swankie, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Sacramento, confirmed that agents searched the office but would not give details.
The office is a small anteroom or entryway to a legislative office assigned to another senator who has not been implicated in the investigation. Hedlund said it was used rarely, generally only when aides from Yee’s district office in San Francisco visited Sacramento.
It contained a desk, computer and several boxes of materials.
Hedlund said agents took about two hours for their search and did not appear to remove anything.
Yee faces federal charges that he accepted bribes and attempted to coordinate an international arms trafficking scheme. He has not yet entered a plea to one count of conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms, and to six counts of engaging in a scheme to defraud citizens of honest services.
Yee’s attorney, Paul DeMeester, has said he expects his client to plead not guilty.
Yee was suspended from the Senate on Friday, along with two other Democratic senators who also face criminal charges in separate cases. Sen. Ron Calderon of Montebello is fighting federal corruption charges filed in Los Angeles, while Sen. Roderick Wright is contesting a conviction for perjury and voter fraud.