Last Updated:November 25 @ 06:13 am

Lawyers: Jackson Jr., wife intend to plead guilty to charges

By Chicago Tribune

Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi intend to plead guilty to federal charges alleging the former congressman misused $750,000 in campaign funds while she understated their income on tax returns for six years, their lawyers say.

Jackson Jr., 47, a Democrat from Chicago, was charged in a criminal information today with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements. He faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and other penalties.

Sandi Jackson was charged with one count of filing false tax returns. She faces up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000 and other penalties.

Jackson Jr. is accused of diverting $750,000 in campaign funds for personal use.

Federal authorities allege that Jackson Jr. used campaign funds to purchase a $43,350 men's gold-plated Rolex watch, $5,150 worth of fur capes and parkas, and $9,588 in children's furniture. The purchases were made between 2007 and 2009, according to the criminal information, which authorities noted is not evidence of guilt.

Other expenditures listed by prosecutors include $10,105 on Bruce Lee memorabilia, $11,130 on Martin Luther King memorabilia and $22,700 on Michael Jackson items, including $4,600 for a "Michael Jackson fedora."

The government also alleged that Jackson Jr. made false statements to the House of Representatives because he did not report approximately $28,500 in loans and gifts he received.

"He has accepted responsibility for his actions and I can confirm that he intends to plead guilty to the charge in the information," Jackson Jr.'s attorney Brian Heberlig said.

Sandi Jackson is accused of filing incorrect joint tax returns with her husband for calendar years 2006 through 2011, reporting income "substantially less than the amount of income she and her husband received in each of the calendar years," with a substantial additional tax due.

Her attorneys released a statement saying she has "reached an agreement with the U.S. attorney's office to plead guilty to one count of tax fraud."

Jackson Jr. stepped down from the House of Representatives on Nov. 21, citing both his poor health and an ongoing federal probe of his activities. In a statement then, he said he was doing his best to cooperate with federal investigators and to accept responsibility for his "mistakes."

In a statement today, Jackson Jr. said:

"Over the course of my life I have come to realize that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties. Still I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made. To that end I want to offer my sincerest apologies to my family, my friends and all of my supporters for my errors in judgment and while my journey is not yet complete, it is my hope that I am remembered for the things that I did right."

Sandi Jackson's attorneys released a statement saying she "has accepted responsibility for her conduct, is deeply sorry for her actions, and looks forward to putting this matter behind her and her family. She is thankful for the support of her family and friends during this very difficult time."

Jackson's father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., said he wanted to attend President Barack Obama's speech Friday at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago but traveled to Washington, D.C., instead, to be with family members while they waited for the federal charges to come down.

"This has been a difficult and painful ordeal for our family," the civil rights leader said.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he would "leave it up to the courts system" to determine his son's fate.

"We express our love for him as a family," he said.

Jackson Jr.'s political fortunes sank beginning late in 2008, when he sought unsuccessfully to have Gov. Rod Blagojevich appoint him to the Senate seat that came open with the election of then-Sen. Barack Obama to the White House.

Jackson Jr. or an emissary reportedly offered to raise up to $6 million in campaign cash for Blagojevich, who now is in federal prison for crimes including trying to sell the Senate seat. Jackson Jr. was never charged in the case, which became the subject of an ethics probe in the House.

Last June, Jackson Jr. began a mysterious leave of absence for what originally was called "exhaustion" but later emerged as bipolar disorder. He spent months in treatment and won re-election Nov. 6 despite never returning to service in the House or staging a single campaign appearance.

A campaign to replace him is being conducted now in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes parts of the South Side and south suburbs.

Jackson Jr. was first elected to Congress in 1995. Sandi Jackson was a Chicago alderman until she resigned her post last month. They have two children.

Sandi Jackson's firm, J. Donatella & Associates, has been paid at least $452,500 from her husband's campaign committee since 2002, Federal Election Commission reports show.

The former congressman's campaign committee reported $105,703 in cash on hand on last Nov. 26, FEC reports show. Leading up to the last election, it reported $1 million in contributions and $1.06 million in operating expenditures, reports show.

Once considered a potential candidate for mayor of Chicago, Jesse Jackson Jr.'s reputation has taken a hit in recent years because of the Blagojevich scandal and also because of news reports in 2010 that a suburban Chicago businessman told federal investigators he twice paid to fly a woman -- a hostess from a Washington, D.C. bar -- to Chicago at Jackson's request.

In the wake of the reports, Jackson Jr. issued a statement calling the woman a "social acquaintance" and describing the matter as a "private and personal matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago."

Jackson Jr. subsequently told the Tribune editorial board he had apologized to "my absolute best friend, my wife."

Still, he also acknowledged he asked longtime supporter Raghuveer Nayak to pay to fly the woman from Washington to Chicago. House ethics rules prohibit members from soliciting gifts of personal benefit. Jackson said Nayak's purchase was "a friendly gesture" by "a close and dear friend of mine, one who knows members of my family, has worked with members of my family, has been a friend of our family's for a number of years."

The woman's travel was "not a personal benefit to me, I don't believe, under the House rules. A benefit to the person for whom he bought the ticket. He didn't buy tickets for me. Did I direct him? I did."

Tribune reporters Kim Geiger, Rick Pearson and Patrick Svitek contributed.


(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune

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  1. my04301933Comment by my04301933
    February 16, 2013 @ 7:56 am

    The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree..

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    • mbmbcsComment by mbmbcs
      February 16, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

      Correct – Like father like son

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    • KBBComment by KBB
      February 17, 2013 @ 12:22 am

      He’s a Democrat. He’ll survive politically, just watch.

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  2. highsiderComment by highsider
    February 16, 2013 @ 10:53 am

    Since pops taught him everything he knows, the Rev should be going upstream too.

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  3. popeyeComment by popeye
    February 16, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

    Can you imagine how guilty him and his wife must be for his father to keep his mouth shut about it. You know if there was a one slight think wrong with the prosecution of him his dad would have said there picking on him because he is black. They must have video of him buying these items and as he is purchasing them saying I know this is a crime and I don’t care. It is amazing though it keeps his dads mouth shut, and ironicly because he was suppose to be the first Jackson to be Mayor of Chicago, Senator of IL and President of the United States he will be the first Jackson in federal prison. This is what you call Carma in someways, is the son paying for the fathers sin. It makes you wonder how many people dad through under the bus in his last 40 years.

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  4. my04301933Comment by my04301933
    February 16, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

    Have you noticed?

    Just how many bizarre and illegal events we see occurring within our governments, State, Local, Federal during the past 4+ years?

    When the human body becomes diseased it responds to the infestation of poisons and intrusions by signs of things like decay, inflammation, sores, boils, regurgitation, and loss of control of body functions…

    …generally followed by death…or extreme handicaps.

    I hate it when I make such similarities to our America.

    I feel sometimes we are beyond extreme functional handicap…that our America as we know it is marked for death.

    Our government is purposefully denying us jobs,

    …purposefully antagonizing us to the point of becoming physical and brutal…

    …purposefully violating our laws which we created to maintain fairness and peace among ourselves…

    …purposefully whispering to one race that “the other race (whites) hate us blacks”…

    …purposefully dividing us from each other when we have worked so hard to maintain the proper balance of love when voicing healthy disagreement….

    …purposefully causing us to be insecure enough to bring upon anger and mistrust of our government…

    …purposefully making threats against us which lead us to believe they want us to riot, throw rocks, fire our guns, and to bring about civil disobedience…

    I can’t imagine a sane and moral leader doing such things as this to those who elected him in good faith…to demonstrate that any racial differences of consequence were long dead…

    I can’t imagine such a sick mentality…unless there exists a DEEP, DEEP level of HATE for us and this country…enough to want to destroy everything it has stood for…even allowing him as a black to become its president…

    The very fact that he was selected and then elected to that place of honor we have in our hearts for this country…would in my mind demonstrate some degree of love and compassion, much less trust we had for him…

    …but it seems he does not see any of those virtues we thought we saw…and he believes he has successfully “bamboozaled” us by lying, stealing, ignoring and manipulating us for that place which was at that time one of honor.

    Now? I’m no longer certain.

    I do conclude though, that one such as he, if my observations are correct, must store EXTREME HATRED for us…and wishes to defecate on our generosity and trust.

    Like the diseased body…sometimes a surgeon is the answer…we must seek to remove this diseased growth…

    …before it kills us!

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    • amockeryComment by amockery
      February 17, 2013 @ 4:27 am

      Yes, Obama is clearly anti-American. Obama repeatedly pictured on magazine covers with heavenly halos over his head even as he flips America off on live TV and brazenly disrespects our morals, values and beliefs. That’s why the President’s verified U.S. citizenship is so vitally important. We citizens ALL have a vested interest in the good health of America & its citizens (Obama is the exception!)

      Obama lied about his true goals and agenda because he knew that telling the truth would not get him elected. To him, the lies & other methods used to achieve his goals are completely justified and totally irrelevant. What counts is that he achieve his goals; it doesn’t matter how he got there.

      In my opinion, his heavy reliance on trickery, lies and propaganda automatically voids any of Obama’s self-proclaimed “achievements.” For example, you can’t trick us into voting for you and then congratulate yourself for winning. Or, you can’t engage in massive voter fraud & then claim you legitimately won the election (I personally don’t think he honestly won any election!)

      Obama not only stealthily sent America’s jobs over to China – but he also authorized the Chinese to rebuild America’s infrastructure HERE. In exchange for the profits they made off us, Obama has now authorized the selling off of America to the Chinese! Yes, he’s squeezing us out! The Chinese are currently purchasing large blocks of our foreclosed homes in addition to whole communities! It’s called “How many times can you exchange money for the same item & still call it a profit?”

      He is not one of us and does not share in our beliefs and goals. Obama feels no shame in spite of his outrageous, despicable, heinous, treasonous actions. He still thinks he’s hot, worthy of halos, and capable of parting the oceans. Yes, IN MY OPINION he’s insane. Yes, IN MY OPINION he’s a psychopath!

      And here we are still talking about Jesse Jackson Jr who would not be the subject today had he been adequately punished for his crimes years ago. His purchase of a $43,000 gold-plated Rolex watch was an absolute necessity & his theft of campaign funds to purchase it is totally justified because HE’S SPECIAL. Once again, he prays for forgiveness! Really? He’s definitely not the Lone Ranger! The mere fact that Jesse Jackson Jr. is still running lose is a good example of how this administration rewards criminal activities in complete disregard of the rule of law. Any day now, I fully expect to see Eric Holder step in to make all the crimes disappear. Overall, the entire Congress is nothing but a bubbling cesspool of criminal activities – all of which regularly generate big profits for each of them PERSONALLY.

      We should dedicate our space program to deporting the entire Obama administration to faraway planets having zero oxygen! We could put them out of their misery!

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    • my04301933Comment by my04301933
      February 17, 2013 @ 9:13 am


      I admire your ability to voice the truth in such a manner one just can’t deny it…

      When I get a bur under my butt I usually put it down in writing a comment in this forum…

      …then afterwards when I read it I get the feeling I over stepped somewhat with my phrases…

      Then, when I read posts such as yours I get confirmation…I then see I’m not the only one with a burr under his butt…but you are much better versed in displaying it…

      But still…its scary to see that things are just as one suspects…

      If a person or body of persons…collectively engage in a plot and manner for overcoming this Republic from within…

      …I would first seek money…money will buy you most anything..

      …then I would seek our someone who is articulate, attractive, well versed, filled with hate, a accomplished liar, lazy…

      …and Stupid

      Then I would arrange a propaganda machine (Media) that can be paid off to develop his image…

      Then I will fabricate incidents that frighten the public, and get them behind the new savior…

      …you know the kind…brain-stupid voters looking for freebies…

      …then I would encourage him to ignore the Constitution and do what he is told by the group…let the Supreme Court address it later, but for now go ahead and implement.

      Note: I didn’t address Jesse Jackson Jr here because he isn’t in that league…he is just a cheaper type of crook, much like a “pimpery”

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  5. wumingrenComment by wumingren
    February 16, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    Her attorneys released a statement saying she has “reached an agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office to plead guilty to one count of tax fraud.”

    So, how does that work for ordinary citizens. The woman filed false documents for 7 years in a row, and who knows how many separate forms were filed! If I had done this, I’d likely be facing a minimum of 7 counts of filing false documents, and the DA would likely have padded the charges with additional counts for each form submitted. Thus, I would likely be facing 50 years or more in jail. Under socialism/Marxism/communism, all people are equal, except some people are more equal than others.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      February 16, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

      I agree, and I also think something is really wrong when a politician can steal $750,000 to buy lavish personal items and only faces a MAXIMUM of 5 years in prison. She falsified IRS returns for 6 consecutive years, charged with ONE crime, and faces a MAXIMUM of 3 years.

      He also faces a MAXIMUM fine of $100,000. Why shouldn’t he be fined the full amount he admitted to stealing? Why isn’t he required to repay the money he took?

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    • fedupwithbadgovComment by fedupwithbadgov
      February 16, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

      He should also lose his “retirement” benefits that are being paid by us, the tax payers, for his “service” as a member of Congress. In fact, he should reimburse all monies that have been paid to him by us during his “retirement” because he blatantly disregarded and disrespected his responsibility to uphold and abide by the Law of the Land. When are we, the citizens of this nation, going to hold our “elected” officials truly accountable for their violation of public trust?

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    • aretiredgiComment by aretiredgi
      February 17, 2013 @ 12:16 am

      Ahhhhh The Land of Lincoln, the County of Crook ……. would almost make one believe that ILLinOIZ and New Jersey are in competition to see who can get caught with the biggest crime.

      Now, who else comes from this cess pool?

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  7. trishywishyComment by trishywishy
    February 17, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

    He and his wife should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They can join Blago, then the USA can send the rest of the Chicago criminals to jail with them. Obama, Emanuel, Dailey, Axelrod, all of them need to be jailed for the rest of their lives. Then we can go after the Clinton’s and the rest of the left wing corruption destroying this country.

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  8. teatrooperComment by teatrooper
    February 17, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

    Throw them in jail!
    They are quick to put their filthy hands into our pockets and cry that we should pay more taxes, while these hypocrites steal and refuse to pay their share.

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