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Fur Capes, Michael Jackson's Fedora And Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Other Campaign Purchases

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Feb 16, 2013 7:00PM

Jesse Jackson Jr. gives a speech in Harvey, Ill., in January 2007. Center for Neighborhood Technology

Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife former Ald. Sandi Jackson were charged Friday for allegedly spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. So where did all of that money go? The charging document shows the money was spent on furs, a $43,000 Rolex watch and a ridiculous list of celebrity memorabilia from Michael Jackson and Bruce Lee.

The court document (available below) shows Jackson Jr.'s alleged misuse dates back to July 2007, when he bought the pricey Rolex, and the rest of his purchases make him look like a hoarder of celebrity memorabilia. In August 2007, he purchased $4,000 in Bruce Lee memorabilia, and by August 2008, he'd spent a total of $10,105 on Bruce Lee stuff.

In August 2009, Jackson Jr. must have been mourning the loss of Michael Jackson like the rest of us because he bought a list of memorabilia, including a $4,600 fedora. The court document also shows Jackson Jr. spent $4,000 to buy "Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen guitar." Van Halen performed the guitar solo for the song "Beat It." In all, Jackson Jr. spent $22,700 on Jackson kitsch.

He also bought $2,775 in Jimi Hendrix memorabilia, $2,200 in Malcolm X memorabilia, $11,130 in Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. memorabilia and a $5,000 football signed by U.S. presidents.

He purchased non-celebrity items, too. On Jan. 22, 2008, Jackson said he spent $1,553.09 at a Chicago Museum for "room rental-fundraiser," but prosecutors say he actually bought porcelain collector's items. In July 2008, he spent $9,587.64 to buy children's furniture. On Nov. 14, 2009, Jackson Jr. allegedly purchased a mink cashmere cape, a black and red cashmere cape, a mink reversible parka and a black fox reversible parka, for a total of $5,150.

So how did he get caught? Prosecutors say they conducted a sting in August 2012 (while Jesse Jackson was away from work on medical leave), in which an undercover employee bought two stuffed elk heads with campaign funds. It sounds like a tour of the Jackson Jr. home would be like a cross between Hoarders and Cribs.

Jesse Jackson Jr. Plea Deal by Chicagoist