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Leland Yee Pleads Guilty To Racketeering, Faces Up To 20 Years In Prison

by Jeff Cork on Jul 02, 2015 at 05:47 AM

Former California state senator Leland Yee pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering yesterday, stemming from corruption charges that he faced earlier this year. Yee is known within the games industry as the author of a bill that prohibited the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed it into law, but it was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Yee’s guilty plea acknowledged that he made illegal transactions that greased political wheels with campaign contributions. Some of those deals include giving contributors preference to state contracts, setting up introductions between donors and political influencers, and making an official proclamation on behalf of a group with possible criminal ties.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the game legislation in June 2011 for violating the First Amendment. Yee didn’t stop talking about violence in video games, however, particularly when it came to their effects on young people. Yee said in an interview that “Gamers have just got to quiet down. Gamers have no credibility in this argument.” Yee later apologized, saying he should have chosen his words more carefully. "I have a lot of respect for many gamers – many are on my staff and in my family – but the industry has profited at the expense of children."

Sentencing is set for October 21, and Yee faces up to 20 years in prison.

[Source: The Sacramento Bee]


Our Take
People tend to suspect that politics are a dirty business, and stories like this simply confirm the worst. That doesn't make it any less disappointing, even if you take Yee's position on video games out of the conversation.