The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the FBI tried and failed to lure football legend Joe Montana into a sting operation last year during an investigation into political corruption across California.
The FBI sent an undercover agent posing as a real estate investor to meet with the Hall of Fame quarterback about investing in Montana’s hotel development close to the new San Francisco 49er’s stadium, reports Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross on SFGate.com.
Montana was never asked to do anything illegal, but also did not do business with the agent, showing “no interest in taking on a new partner,” according to their report.
The newspaper’s source for the story is a defense attorney for California state senator Leland Yee, who is being prosecuted for campaign corruption and gun trafficking. Yee is accused of soliciting donations from undercover FBI agents in exchange for “official acts.”
Attorney James Brosnahan talked publicly about the Montana meeting to show that the FBI was groping for more evidence against Yee, the newspaper suggests.
“It shows the deepest lack of judgment I can imagine,” said Brosnahan. “Who decided to take Joe to lunch and cast a cloud on Northern California’s greatest sports hero? Nobody was exercising any judgment about the scope of this thing.”
The newspaper couldn’t get any comment from the FBI or Montana’s attorney.