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FBI agent accused of misconduct in California politics probe

By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - One of the primary FBI agents investigating California state Senator Leland Yee was removed from the probe and reprimanded for financial misconduct, according to a court filing from one of the other defendants in the case.

In the filing on Thursday, attorneys for Keith Jackson, a Yee campaign consultant, said the FBI persuaded a judge to approve a wiretap for Jackson and Yee's conversations, without revealing the full extent of an internal government investigation into the lead undercover agent.

The agent was not named, and Jackson's attorneys said the exact nature of the agent's financial misconduct is unclear. However, the agent was removed from the case and reprimanded, the court filing said.

Yee faces several federal criminal charges over wide-ranging corruption accusations, including that he had accepted cash from an undercover agent posing as a customer seeking to purchase illegal weapons.

Jackson is also accused of telling an undercover FBI agent that for $60,000 Yee could help the owner of a National Football League team by voting against a worker's compensation bill before California lawmakers that would be costly to the NFL teams. The money was never paid, court documents say.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

A Department of Justice spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yee was arrested earlier this year but is free on bail. He withdrew from a race for California secretary of state after his arrest.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is United States of America vs. Kwok Cheung Chow et al., 14-cr-196.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; editing by Andrew Hay)

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