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Jesse Jackson Jr. Signs Plea Deal

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 8, 2013 7:35PM

Photo courtesy Congressman Patrick Kennedy

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has signed a plea deal with federal prosecutors which requires him to plead guilty to misuse of campaign funds, reports Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed, who first broke the news earlier this week that a plea deal was imminent.

Jackson has been under investigation for months and believe Jackson spent campaign funds on redecorating his home, clothing for himself and a Rolex watch for a female friend. Attorneys for Jackson and prosecutors have been negotiating the plea deal since the congressman’s November resignation. Sneed reported the plea deal would include “significant jail time.” He’s expected to plead guilty to a solitary count of misusing campaign funds and will leave any prison sentence he must serve up to a judge, which could be up to five years. (It’s possible he could also simply get away with probation.)

Jackson has also agreed to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars he spent over a four-year period, which also include meals and travel expenses.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics In Washington (CREW) released a statement after news of Jackson’s plea deal signing broke.

“Campaign finance law is clear: Candidates are prohibited from using campaign funds for personal expenses. For Rep. Jackson and all other candidates for federal office, using campaign funds to buy a $40,000 Rolex watch and furniture for one’s home isn’t just unseemly — it’s flat-out illegal. “With the writing on the wall well in advance of Election Day, and Rep. Jackson’s resignation just weeks later, it begs the question whether the former congressman held on to his seat to maintain a stronger bargaining position with prosecutors. The people of Illinois deserve much more from their federally elected officials. While Rep. Jackson will be required to reimburse the government and may face jail time, the disservice to his constituents likely won’t be forgotten any time soon.”

Prosecutors are continuing a separate investigation into Jackson’s wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, and her access to her husband’s campaign fund. Sandi Jackson drew a $5,000 per month salary from her husband’s fund and filed a series of amended campaign disclosure forms in December that included $13,500 in previously undisclosed transfers from her husband’s campaign fund to hers.