Former Congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, former 7th Ward Alderman, Sandi Jackson face serious hurdles now that he has agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
Jackson Jr., according to news reports signed a plea deal on Feb. 1 with federal prosecutors, agreeing to plead guilty to misuse of campaign funds. The deal reportedly will allow a federal judge to decide whether Jackson serves jail time and how much.
By agreeing to plead guilty to a single felony count, reports state, Jackson Jr. could serve up to five years in prison. The judge, however, could decide to sentence Jackson Jr. with probation instead of jail time. The former congressman allegedly has also agreed to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds, misspent over four years on things like redecorating his home and a $40,000 Rolex he allegedly bought for a female friend.
Federal prosecutors reportedly are recommending a 5 year maximum sentence.
Just two weeks after Jackson was reelected to a ninth full term, he reportedly sent a resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner, citing his ongoing treatment for bipolar disorder and admitting “my share of mistakes” while confirming publically for the first time that he was under a federal probe and cooperating with investigators.
“During this journey I have made my share of mistakes. I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators and accept responsibility for my mistakes,” he wrote.
Though never charged with any wrong doing, Jackson, 47, allegedly was also under a House Ethics Committee investigation over dealings with imprisoned ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, reports state.
A Chicago Sun-Times report, revealed Sandi Jackson, is under a separate investigation regarding her access and usage of her husband’s congressional campaign funds.
Sandi Jackson, who represented the city of Chicago’s 7th Ward, abruptly resigned from her post last month despite previously indicating that she had no plans to quit the City Council. Her resignation letter, unlike that of her husband’s less than two months earlier, did not cite any sort of federal probe among the contributing factors to her decision.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Natashia L. Holmes as Sandi Jackson’s replacement for the new alderman for Chicago’s seventh ward.
“After an extensive and thorough process, I am pleased to announce that Natashia L. Holmes will be the new Alderman representing the seventh ward,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Natashia will bring professionalism and a strong sense of the needs of the community to the position and I am confident that she will be a steadfast advocate for the residents of the seventh ward.”
The selection of Holmes came after a thorough process in which 48 candidates were reviewed by a five-member selection committee. Four finalists met with the Mayor last week and he made his final decision over the weekend.
A special primary election to replace Jackson Jr. in Congress is scheduled for Feb 26, followed by an April 9 general election.
Information from the AP contributed to this news story.
By Deborah Bayliss