Former Rep. William Jefferson Sentenced to 13 Years

Former Congressman William Jefferson was sentenced to 13 years today. He was convicted of 11 counts related to public corruption.

Jefferson was found guilty after an eight-week trial of soliciting bribes, depriving citizens of honest service, money laundering and using his congressional office as a racketeering enterprise. The case was best known for the $90,000 federal agents found hidden in the freezer of Jefferson's home in Washington, D.C.

The five charges for which he was acquitted included single count of violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act -- the charge most closely related to the $90,000 found in his freezer.

Prosecutors asked for 27 years. The defense asked for less than 10. Jefferson was allowed to remain on bond pending a hearing next week on the Government's request he be ordered into custody immediately. [More...]

The judge said he will hold a hearing next week to set date for when Jefferson must report to prison. If the judge approves the prosecution's request, the former congressman would have to report immediately. Jefferson's attorneys have asked for Jan. 4 reporting date. Jefferson is expected to be assigned to a low-security prison in the federal system, possibly in Florida. Ellis has not yet ruled on whether Jefferson can remain free while he pursues his appeal, which will likely take months.

The judge also ordered the forfeiture of $$470,653.47 to the government. Jefferson and his wife filed for bankruptcy recently, and his lawyers are owed $5.7 million.

Jefferson intends to appeal:

The attorneys have said that they will challenge several decisions made by Ellis during the trial including his definition of official acts, which they believer was overly broad and his decision not to tell the jury that an FBI agent assigned to the case had a sexual relationship with Mody in 2005 when she was recording conversations with Jefferson.

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    Thanks for looking up the Cunningham info (none / 0) (#2)
    by ruffian on Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 09:25:20 PM EST
    I was also wondering how this sentence compared to others since it seemed excessive to me too. Something in the 7 -10 yr range with loss of reputation and never serving in office again would be justice to me.

    One big difference (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Sat Nov 14, 2009 at 07:14:14 AM EST
    Duke Cunningham pled guilty to tax evasion, conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud in federal court.  The recommended sentence was 10 years, and he got 8 because the judge took into account the fact that he has prostate cancer and he also agreed to help the government in their other prosecutions of others involved in the defense contractor bribery scandal.

    William Jefferson, on the other hand, went to trial and was convicted on 11 (of 16) counts of corruption. And the fact that he got only 13 years, when the recommended sentence was 27-33 years, shows that it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

    As an aside - Cunningham has also shown remorse after the fact, while Jefferson is still defiant.