Jesse Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty to federal charges that he misappropriated campaign funds. His wife, Sandi Jackson, is expected to follow suit. The couple arrived at federal court in Washington D.C. this morning, initially making no statements as to how they will respond to the charges against them.
The former Congressman and his wife, a one-time alderman in the Windy City, were supported by Jesse Jackson Sr. and other family members entering the courtroom after their arrival. Once in court Jackson Jr. admitted wrong doing. “I am guilty, your honor,” Jackson Jr. said. “I used money I shouldn't have. . .for personal purposes, and I acknowledge that.”
Upon leaving the courtroom he offered his apologies. “Tell everybody back home I'm sorry I let 'em down, OK?” he told a reporter.
Last week the twosome was charged for using more than $750,000 in official money to cover personal expenses and shopping excursions. Among the items that he and his wife are accused of buying include a $43,350 Rolex, over $5,000 in cashmere clothing, and one of Michael Jackson's fedoras.
Jackson Jr. was expected to enter a guilty plea, even before the news was announced. The Chicago Tribune reports:
Attorneys familiar with public corruption investigations said the amount of campaign cash allegedly converted to personal use in this case is the largest of any that they can remember.
Jackson Jr., who has been largely out of the public eye for eight months, is to appear in court at 9:30 a.m. Chicago time. His wife is to appear at 1:30 p.m. Chicago time. Both Jacksons will stand before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wilkins.
Sentencing is not expected for several weeks. Jackson Jr. faces up to five years in prison, while she faces up to three years, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
Jackson Jr. was said to have struck a plea deal with authorities, but has not made an announcement confirming the report. Under the plea, he looks to spend 3-4 years behind bars, although both sides will be allowed to argue for a higher or lower sentence.
He will be sentenced June 28.