Sen. Leland Yee chooses new defense lawyer 

Suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, has chosen a new lawyer to defend him against federal public corruption and gun trafficking charges.

Yee’s former attorney, Paul DeMeester, confirmed this morning that Yee has replaced him with defense attorney James Lassart.

Lassart worked for 12 years as an assistant district attorney in San Francisco and then for five years as a federal prosecutor pursuing organized crime cases before entering private practice.

Yee’s next court appearance is a Tuesday arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero in San Francisco on an expected federal grand jury indictment, which would replace a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors against Yee and 25 other defendants last week.

Lassart was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

Another defendant, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, was assigned a defense lawyer by Spero on Wednesday. Chow’s attorney will be Martha Boersch, who is also a former federal prosecutor.

Chow, who is the leader of the Chinatown-based Ghee Kung Tong organization and was previously convicted of racketeering, is charged with money laundering, conspiring to receive stolen property and trafficking in contraband cigarettes.

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