UPDATE: Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. made a court appearance in Washington DC today to plead guilty to misusing $750,000 in federal campaign funds, and conspiring to do so with his wife, former alderwoman Sandi Jackson. She’s expected to plead guilty this afternoon.
“As part of the plea deal with Jackson Jr., the parties have agreed that sentencing guidelines in the case call for a term of between 46 and 57 months in prison, but the sides reserved the right to argue for a sentence above or below that range for him when he is sentenced June 28,” reports the Chicago Tribune. “After his release from an expected prison term, he might face three additional years of supervised release, or probation.” He’ll also have to pay a fine of anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000 and a forfeiture of $750,000.
“I used money I shouldn’t have. . .for personal purposes, and I acknowledge that,” Jackson Jr. said in court. On his way out of the courtroom, he’s quoted saying to a reporter, “Tell everybody back home I’m sorry I let ‘em down, OK?”
The Jessie Jackson Jr. scandal appears to be finally ending with an admission of guilt. According to the Chicago Tribune, 47-year-old Chicago Democrat Jessie Jackson was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and false statements and could face up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and other penalties. He could also lose his pension, worth about $45,000.
His wife Sandi Jackson, a former city councilwoman, was charged with one count of filing false tax returns. She faces up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and other penalties.
The son of civil rights leader Jessie Jackson is facing accusations that he used campaign funds to purchase a Rolex watch, children’s furniture, and Michael Jackson, Martin Luther King and Bruce Lee memorabilia. Sandi Jackson is accused of filing joint tax returns with her husband for years 2006 through 2011 that under-reported their income, with a substantial amount of taxes due to the federal government. The attorneys of Mr. Jackson and his wife say that they both have accepted responsibility and intend to plead guilty.
Jesse Jackson Jr. released this statement regarding the matter:
“Over the course of my life I have come to realize that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties. Still I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made. To that end I want to offer my sincerest apologies to my family, my friends and all of my supporters for my errors in judgment and while my journey is not yet complete, it is my hope that I am remembered for the things that I did right.”
The Reverend Jessie Jackson had very few words on the issue, saying he would “leave it up to the courts system” to determine his son’s fate.
The ex-Congressman will be in court on Wednesday to answer to charges that he used $750,000 in campaign money improperly. His wife will also make a court appearance on that day, according to Black Voices, but in a separate hearing. This will be the first public appearance for Jackson Jr. since the summer of 2012, the article says.
Jessie Jackson Jr. was first elected to Congress in 1995. He took a leave of absence last June and ultimately resigned in November.