3 California state senators' legal troubles

AP News
Posted: Mar 28, 2014 3:16 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — So far in 2014, each month has brought news of another arrest or conviction of a Democratic California state senator. Legislators voted to suspend all three senators on Friday, though they will continue to receive their salaries. Here is some background about their legal troubles:

— Sen. Leland Yee, who represents part of San Francisco and much of San Mateo County, was arrested Wednesday during a series of raids in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. He is accused of accepting money and campaign donations in exchange for providing official favors and helping broker an arms deal. He has been charged with six counts of depriving the public of honest services and one count of conspiracy to traffic in guns without a license. His attorney, Paul DeMeester, says Yee plans to plead not guilty.

— Sen. Ron Calderon, who represents parts of Los Angeles, was indicted on federal corruption charges in February. Prosecutors say Calderon accepted about $100,000 for himself and family members in exchange for promoting legislation to expand Hollywood tax credits and protect the interest of a hospital that benefited from a provision of the workers' compensation law. He has pleaded not guilty and taken a leave of absence, with pay, from the Senate.

— Sen. Rod Wright, who represents another Los Angeles-area district, was convicted in January of perjury and voter fraud for lying about his legal residence in Los Angeles County. He is scheduled to be sentenced in May and faces more than eight years in prison. He is seeking to have his conviction overturned and has also taken a leave of absence with pay.