SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — Supporters of State Senator Leland Yee say the FBI used entrapment to lure him into alleged criminal wrongdoing.

One defense attorney says entrapment could be Yee’s defense against corruption charges.

Others insist, entrapment as a a defense, is almost impossible to win.

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Complete Coverage Of The Leland Yee Scandal
Download the 137-page Criminal Complaint (.pdf)

Senator Yee faces public corruption charges and crimes related to selling weapons.

It was the work of an orchestrated FBI sting operation with undercover agents and testimony fit for a Hollywood crime movie that landed Yee in cuffs.

The question swirling: should Yee claim entrapment as a defense?

“If I were the defense lawyer, I’d argue it,” said Robert Weisberg, professor,at Stanford’s School of Law. “Still, it’s going to be really hard in this case.”

Professor Weisberg said the entrapment defense is even difficult for everyday drug stings. For example, an undercover agent asks ‘hey, mister, want to buy some drugs?’ Once you say yes, and offer money, the agent can arrest you, and you are not likely to be able to claim entrapment.

Weisberg said Yee’s only chance at the entrapment defense is proving undercover agents persistently goaded him into wrongdoing.

Still, experts say, it’s a long shot. A more likely defense? Attack the credibility of the prosecution’s witness or prove the bribery allegations were not a quid pro quo.

Senator Yee will enter his plea on Monday.


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