California state Senate votes to suspend three Democrats over criminal investigations
[Image via Steve Rhodes, Creative Commons licensed]

(Reuters) - The California state Senate voted to suspend three Democratic lawmakers on Friday who have been the subject of criminal probes, including Leland Yee, who was arrested this week in an FBI sweep on corruption and gun trafficking charges.

The Senate voted 28-1 to suspend the trio, all of whom have been either charged with or convicted of criminal wrongdoing in separate cases in a move that further erodes what had once been a Democratic two-thirds super-majority in the senate.

"An affirmative suspension puts this house on formal record that we unequivocally distance ourselves and the senate from the unfathomable allegations contained in the Yee indictment as well as the other case," California Senate Democratic leader Darrell Steinberg said during the meeting.

Yee, a former San Francisco supervisor and one-time mayoral candidate, was criminally charged in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday with two felony counts of conspiring to import and traffic in firearms, and six corruption counts.

A day later, he withdrew from a race for California Secretary of State where he had been considered a strong candidate. Yee, who was released on $500,000 bond, has declined to comment on the case.

The senate also voted to suspend fellow senators Ron Calderon, who has been indicted on corruption charges, and Rod Wright, who was found guilty of voter fraud. Both had already been on paid leaves of absence.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Scott Malone and James Dalgleish)

[Image via Steve Rhodes, Creative Commons licensed]