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Leland Yee Probe Tried to Ensnare Joe Montana

Scott Lucas | June 16, 2014 | Lifestyle Story City Life

There's no American tradition finer than trying a story in the press. So the only real surprise about the latest leak from a Leland Yee defense attorney was that it took this long. According to attorney James Brosnahan, the FBI probe that ensnared State Senator (and third-place finisher for Secretary of State) Yee and Chinatown gangster Shrimp Boy also tried to entice Joe Montana into a dodgy real estate deal.

Or, as Matier and Ross put it more diplomatically: "Brosnahan had earlier declined our request to talk about the Montana matter. But now he's speaking up, in what appears to be a defense strategy to paint the feds as overzealous in their campaign to root out public corruption."

The story is that, as part of the corruption probe, an FBI agent posing as a businessman, met with the football star to talk about a potential investment in Montana's plans to develop a hotel next to the 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara. During the meeting, which took place a few years ago at a South Bay restaurant, Montana supposedly showed no interest in taking on a new partner.

But the story behind the story is Yee's defense hopes to portray the FBI as a bunch of celebrity spammers, as overly broad in their probe as a desperate schlub on OKCupid. Said Brosnahan, "In a sting, they have real reason to believe someone is committing a crime, but here they fanned out all over California to see who would talk to them about anything."

Although components of the evidence gathered by the FBI have been shielded from the public, Brosnahan said that his comments were not based on protected evidence.

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