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Jesse Jackson Jr. Pleads Guilty [UPDATE]

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 20, 2013 5:30PM

Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images News

Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. made a rare public appearance and pleaded guilty this morning to misspending $750,000 in campaign funds, apologizing to the constituents of his former Chicago congressional district in the process.

“For years I lived off my campaign. I used money that should have been for campaign purposes for personal purposes,” Jackson said in court, as he broke down several times, getting tissues from his lawyers.

In explaining his decision to plead guilty, Jackson said: “I have no interest in wasting the taxpayers’ time or their money.”

“I’m guilty, your honor,” Jackson said.

“Tell everybody I’m sorry I let them down,” he said later.

Jackson and his wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, are accused of using his campaign funds to for personal use, including paying tuition for their children and buying a $43,000 Rolex watch, home improvements, $4,000 in Bruce Lee memorabilia, a fedora once owned by Michael Jackson, fur capes and other celebrity artifacts.

Sandi Jackson is expected to plead guilty to a single charge of tax evasion in federal prosecutors’ ongoing investigation into her dealings with her husband’s campaign funds.

Under the terms of a plea deal Jackson Jr. signed last week, he will leave the prison sentence he’s expected to serve up to U.S. District Judge Robert L. Wilkins. Prosecutors have asked for a sentence between 46 to 57 months, and Jackson will be sentenced June 28.

Update: Sandi Jackson joined her husband in pleading guilty today. She admitted to willing filing a false tax return. Her sentencing is scheduled for July 1 and she could face up to three years in prison.

Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. and Sandra Stevens Jackson 2-20-13 by