Jesse Jackson Jr. Slapped With 30-Month Federal Prison Sentence
After months of deliberation in a federal fraud case, former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. was sentenced earlier today (August 14) in a Washington court to serve 30 months in prison for the misuse of $750,000 in campaign funds.
The fallen elected official asked the court to turn its attention to him only but U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is of no relation, also gave Jackson's wife, Sandra, a year in prison. The Jacksons pleaded guilty back in February for using the stolen money on goods such as Rolex watches, fur coats, private-school tuition and other lavish items.
“There may be blurred lines for Congress to follow when their lives are political, this case did not come near those areas,” said Judge Jackson after concluding the three-hour hearing. “This was a knowing, organized joint misconduct that was repeated over many years.
Jackson Jr.'s father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, tried to help his son with letters urging the courts to show leniency towards his son while mentioning the younger Jackson's curious bout with depression and bipolar disorder. Judge Jackson acknowledged the attempt but stayed her original course. Federal prosecutors had initially wanted Jackson Jr. to serve a four-year sentence.
In an exact measure to ensure Mrs. Jackson would serve the full year, she was sentenced 12 months in federal prison. If the judge handed down the year-and-a-day sentence which is common for most charges, time would have been shaved off for good measure. With good behavior, Jackson Jr. could serve just 25 months.
Jackson Jr. addressed the court in a teary-eyed moment. “I misled the American people, I misled the House of Representatives,” Jackson said as wiped his eyes. “I was wrong and I do not fault anyone.”
Photo: NBC Chicago