SAN FRANCISCO -- California state Sen. Leland Yee sat between two other manacled defendants and grimly surveyed the courtroom, his face fixed in a frown.
Appearing Wednesday afternoon in federal court, where he was arraigned with 19 other defendants, Yee wore a casual, light-weight blue jacket, his hair stylishly combed. He gazed out at the courtroom without flinching, even as reporters stood to get a better a look at him.
Yee was charged with six counts of depriving the public of honest service — each carrying a maximum 20 years in prison — and gun trafficking, which carries a maximum of five years in prison.
“Mr. Yee, do you understand the charges against you?” asked U.S. Magistrate Nathanael Cousins.
“Yes,” Yee replied with a nod.
Most of the those accused with Yee were of Chinese descent. Several followed the proceedings with the aid of an interpreter, and one elderly defendant sat in a wheelchair. Three of the accused were women.
Yee was to be released on a $500,000 bond after surrendering his passport. He will be able to go anywhere in the state.
Other defendants who were given bail had to post bonds of either $100,000 or $50,000.
The courtroom where Yee appeared was packed, and reporters and the public also filled a second, overflow courtroom where the proceedings were broadcast by audio.