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Disgraced politician Leland Yee gets five years in prison

"Haunted" former senator who crusaded against the games industry found guilty of corruption

Leland Yee has been sentenced to five years in prison, the presiding judge condemning the former California State Senator for doing, "serious, serious injury to a governmental institution."

During his time in politics, Yee was a frequent and fervent critic of the game industry, who used his power and influence to attempt to tighten regulations around the sale of video games in the US.

Yee was arrested on public corruption charges in May 2014, the result of a long process that started in with an FBI investigation into crime in San Francisco's Chinatown about five years before. Ultimately, Yee was exposed for exchanging his political clout for bribes. According to a report from the San Jose Mercury, that included an NFL team and a medicinal marijuana startup.

Yesterday, US District Judge Charles Breyer sentenced Yee to five years in prison, rejecting his pleas for leniency on the grounds that his crimes constituted a, "violation of the public trust."

"The crimes that you committed have resulted in essentially an attack on democratic institutions," Breyer said. "This is a serious, serious injury to a governmental institution."

A visibly emotional Yee admitted feelings of shame for the decisions he made, while also accepting full responsibility. "That will haunt me the rest of my life," he said.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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