Appeals Court Affirms Conviction of Ex-Rep. William Jefferson

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld 10 of the 11 counts of bribery, money laundering, wire fraud and RICO (organized crime) on which former LA Congressman William Jefferson. Jefferson was convicted. Jefferson is serving a 13 year sentence. The Court vacated a wire fraud count but that will not affect his sentence. The Court said Virginia was not the appropriate place for a count involving a phone call between Kentucky and Africa. More on today's decision here.

Here how the jury decided the 16 counts against him. The case began when: [More...]

The Aug. 3, 2005 raids of Jefferson's homes in New Orleans and Washington, D.C., in which the FBI found $90,000 in cash hidden in the freezer of his D.C. home, money the government said Jefferson was going to deliver as a bribe to Atiku Abubakar, then vice president of Nigeria, to gain his help with a telecommunications deal in Nigeria being pursued by Lori Mody, a Northern Virginia businesswoman.

The money was the lion's share of $100,000 in FBI cash that the congressman was videotaped receiving packed in a briefcase days earlier in a suburban Virginia parking lot from Mody, who, beginning in March of 2005, had become a cooperating witness for the FBI, secretly taping her conversations with Jefferson.

Jefferson got one year less that former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Jefferson, 65, was convicted of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and unlawfully seeking millions more, mainly by promoting business deals in Africa. Prosecutors claimed he was involved in 11 separate bribery schemes from August 2000 to August 2005 and that he and his family stood to gain more than half a billion dollars.

The appeals court didn't think much of Jefferson's argument on appeal:

The three judges on the 4th Circuit rejected the arguments by Jefferson's lawyers that the charges, most of which related to allegations of bribery, were improper because he was trying to influence foreign officials, which they contend is not part of his official duties, and because each payment or promised payment to him were for special acts, or that they constituted a quid pro quo.

"There was, in this case, an ongoing course of illicit and repugnant conduct by Jefferson -- conduct for which he was compensated considerably by those on whose behalf he was acting," the judges ruled. "An absurd result would occur if we were to deem Jefferson's illicit actions as outside the purview of the bribery statute simply because he was rewarded by periodic payments to his family's businesses."

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    Greed... (none / 0) (#1)
    by fishcamp on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 06:19:02 PM EST