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Rep. Jefferson convicted on multiple charges

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August 6, 2009

Former U.S. Congressman William Jefferson, who was caught with $90,000 in cash in his freezer, was convicted on Wednesday on multiple charges of bribery and money laundering.

The former Congressman from Louisiana, accused in 2007 of soliciting millions of dollars in bribes from companies while using his office to broker business deals in Africa, was found guilty of 11 of 16 counts of bribery, racketeering and money laundering.

In a search of his residence, FBI agents found the $90,000 neatly wrapped in foil and stashed in his freezer.

Jefferson faces up to 150 years in prison and could forfeit payments totaling $456,000, plus stock certificates.

During his trial in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, prosecutors said Jefferson had sought hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes relating to business ventures, mainly in Africa.

They included telecommunications deals in Nigeria and Ghana, oil concessions in Equatorial Guinea, satellite transmission contracts in Botswana, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo, and a Nigerian sugar plant.

"It should be a clear signal that no public official — and certainly not a U.S. Congressman — can put their office up for sale and betray that office," Dana Boente, the U.S. Attorney in Virginia, said of the verdict. "It cannot be tolerated."

Sentencing was scheduled for October 30.

Jefferson can appeal his conviction and was not taken into custody.

A member of Congress since 1991, Jefferson, 62, a Democrat, was defeated in an election last year by Republican Anh "Joseph" Caowho, who became the first Vietnamese American in the House of Representatives.

The district includes most of New Orleans, which was ravaged during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

When he was first charged, Jefferson acknowledged he had made mistakes in judgment that he regretted, but denied selling his office or trading official acts for money.

He also challenged the indictment, arguing that it unconstitutionally infringed on his privileges as a legislator. But the courts held that a grand jury did not improperly consider any legislative material.

5 Responses to Rep. Jefferson convicted on multiple charges

  1. JudyB

    August 6, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Another “ASStute” member of congress convicted! WHOA!
    Everytime an elected official gets caught, it makes many of us wonder…what state has the record of having had the most corrupt politicians in the past 75 yrs.? I can assure you there will always be those ready to argue over the correct answer to this question. Do any of you have the facts? (we all have opinions, but I would like the facts IF you have them) I know that La., Ill., N.J., are the front runners (throw in Vermont per capita) Let’s not bother with the most corrupt administrations or political parties, that might cause a few coronaries.
    Another question that will be sure to stir the pot is who in your opinion was the VERY worst most corrupt member of congress in the past 50 yrs.
    There ought to be some interesting posts from these questions…enjoy !

  2. sherry

    August 6, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Another question that will be sure to stir the pot is who in your opinion was the VERY worst most corrupt member of congress in the past 50 yrs.

    Judy, I wouldn’t even know where to BEGIN. Corruption is every where. I just wish people would open their eyes instead of treating their favored party members as they would favored children.

  3. woody188

    August 6, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Where’s the charges against the business leaders that paid these bribes?

    Is it any wonder we have executives out of control when we don’t hold them responsible for their actions?

    It was some corporation that bribed them. Bull biscuits! Hold their board and executive management responsible!

    If you want to send a message about bribery both parties to the illegal deal should be pursued.

    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    R U Main Core?

  4. JudyB

    August 6, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Sherry & woody..I agree with you both! and….If it were possible to get all of the individuals convicted that should be, we would have to build another 200 prisons to hold them all. (or just shoot them and save the money it would cost and put it toward paying off the national debt))

  5. John H Kennedy Denver CO

    August 14, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    One wonders if the House ethics committee will take up the recent complaint by a conservative group that Rep. John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee may have failed to report some income related to his wife’s Federal Bribery Conviction.

    Rep. Conyers’ legacy rests solely on whether or not he leads his Committee to do serious investigation and prosecution of Bush, Cheney, Rove and all the other criminals in the Bush Administration.

    Conyers portrayed himself as the the leading advocate of Impeachment in the US House, but stonewalled impeachment for years and kept Rep. Kucinich’s Bush-Cheney Impeachment Bills from ever being seriously debated or voted on in his House Committee.

    Conyers accepted Impeachment Petition signed by 1.1 Million Voters but ignored it and had those bringing it Arrested.

    Conyers broke a promise to voters to hold impeachment hearings after 08 election.

    He is on the board of Progressive Democrats of America but even they couldn’t get him to stop blocking impeachment.

    But Conyers has been having some problems of his own. Now we see in the Washington Post that a “Conservative Group Calls For Probe Of Conyers – Wife’s Case Raises Disclosure Issue” http://tr.im/uezF

    and in the Detroit newspapers that Rep. Conyers could be involved in his wife’s Federal Bribery Conviction.

    “Riddle implicates Rep. John Conyers in wife’s corruption troubles”
    http://tinyurl.com/mkxftx

    History will treat Rep. Conyers kindly if he does his job and makes successful investigation and prosecution of the Bush-Cheney crimes the centerpiece of his legacy. Otherwise?

    We have to make an example of the Bush criminals or it will happen again and again until we lose our most cherished freedoms.

    SIGN THE PETITIONS
    Demanding
    both a Commission of Inquiry
    and a Special Prosecutor
    For All Their Crimes

    at ANGRYVOTERS.ORG

    http://ANGRYVOTERS.ORG

    .