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Jesse Jackson Jr. Sentenced To 2½ Years In Prison; Wife Gets 1 Year

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 14, 2013 5:30PM

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to 2½ years in prison for stealing over $750,000 from his campaign fund and using the money for personal use Wednesday. Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied a request from the former congressman’s attorneys to consider the state of his mental health as a mitigating factor in his sentencing and instead relied on federal sentencing guidelines that saw five years as the upper range. Berman Jackson noted in her remarks that no two doctors could agree on the congressman’s mental health diagnosis.

Berman Jackson told the congressman his series of purchases “were not all sudden and extraordinary” and “points to only one conclusion: and that is that you knew better.” Jackson took full responsibility for his actions before the court. “I didn’t separate my personal life from my political life, and I couldn’t be more wrong,” he said. “Throughout this process I’ve asked the government and the court to hold me and only me accountable for my actions. I am the example for the whole Congress,” he said. “I understand that.”

Berman Jackson declined to order restitution in addition to the $750,000 forfeiture to which Jackson agreed. “The victim is the campaign,” she said. “The campaign is defunct.”

Jackson’s wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, received a one-year prison term for tax evasion Wednesday, despite a full-court for probation by her and her attorneys. “My heart breaks every day with the pain this has caused my babies,” Sandi Jackson said. “I ask to be parent, provider and support system that my babies will require in the difficult months ahead.” She was ordered to pay $22,000 in restitution

The Jacksons had asked for leniency and that any prison sentences meted be staggered, claiming that Sandi Jackson could work to secure the family’s financial well-being while her husband was in prison. Berman Jackson told Sandi Jackson “it is not the court that put your children in this position.”

Berman Jackson said Jesse Jackson Jr. must serve his sentence first and must report to prison on or before Nov. 1.