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Entries in Jesse Jackson Jr. (12)

Wednesday
Aug142013

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Faces Sentencing on Wednesday

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will be sentenced Wednesday for misusing campaign funds.

Jackson, the former Rep. from Illinois, pleaded guilty to using campaign funds to pay for living expenses, clothes and luxury items, according to USA Today. Jackson's wife and former Chicago alderman Sandi Jackson pleaded guilty to falsifying the couple's tax returns during a six-year period.

Jackson Jr. was first elected to Congress in 1995 and served up until he resigned in November 2012. Jackson won re-election last year before his resignation, which was connected to the finance scandal.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

US Attorney Seeks 4-Year Sentence for Jesse Jackson Jr.

US Congress(WASHINGTON) -- A U.S. attorney Friday recommended a four-year prison sentence and the forfeiture of $750,000 for former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen sought the 48-month sentence for the disgraced lawmaker in a sentencing memorandum filed Friday in federal court in Washington.

Jackson pleaded guilty in February to misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds to enrich himself. Among the items that the congressman bought with the money were a $43,350 gold-plated Rolex watch, fur coats and home furniture.

In a statement released by his attorneys in February, Jackson acknowledged making "improper decisions and mistakes."

"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," Jackson said. "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 all the things that I did right."

Jackson resigned from Congress last November only weeks after winning re-election in a landslide. He represented the Second District in Illinois, a district that includes a large part of Chicago's South Side and southeast suburbs.

The son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, Jackson Jr. mysteriously left Congress in June of 2012 to seek treatment for exhaustion. After months of medical leave -- he missed a whopping 230 votes in Congress -- and stints at treatment centers in Arizona and Minnesota, the congressman was ultimately diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

While he confronted his medical issues, Jackson faced a probe by federal investigators into financial activity connected to his House seat and inappropriate expenditures.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb262013

Bloomberg’s Super PAC Anti-Gun Ad Makes Waves in Ill. Special Election

Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has lent his voice and money to have some say in which Democrat replaces former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., the son of civil rights icon Jesse Jackson, in Tuesday's special election.

The front-runners in Tuesday’s primary in Illinois' 2nd District are Robin Kelly, a former state representative, and former Rep. Debbie Halvorson. Kelly recently snapped up Bloomberg’s endorsement and financial backing through his super PAC Independence USA. Bloomberg donated close to $10 million to the super PAC last year, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Jackson, who pleaded guilty last week in a D.C. federal court to one felony fraud count related to improper use of campaign funds, won re-election last November but resigned, citing his health and the investigation into his campaign finances as reasons.

Halvorson is the only white candidate in the majority African-American district, which includes Chicago’s South Side. Several Democrats initially stepped up to run for the seat following Jackson’s resignation, but many withdrew and threw their support to the current candidates.

Chicago’s epidemic of gun violence has been a top issue in the campaign. Ads have sought to paint Halvorson, who challenged Jackson in a 2012 Democratic primary for his congressional seat, in a negative light.

An ad made by Independence USA, the super PAC created by Bloomberg, an independent, has attacked Halvorson for her support of gun rights.

“Debbie Halvorson, when it comes to preventing gun violence, she gets an F,” the ad says.
The ad further warns to “watch out” for Halvorson, saying she is against banning deadly assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, and that she also co-sponsored a bill to allow felons to take “loaded, hidden guns across state lines.”

“If you can tell me that banning another gun will go after the criminals, I’d be all for it,” Halvorson told The Hill Monday. “I’d be for anything that stopped the killing and gets guns out of the hands of criminals, but it won’t work. [Chicago's] Cook County has had an assault weapons ban since 1993, and they have the highest murder rate in the country.”

Halvorson was one of the few Democrats endorsed by the National Rifle Association in 2010.

A spokesman for Halvorson’s campaign said the ad had actually backfired on the super PAC.

“Initially, it was a shell shock,” said Sean Howard, a spokesman for Halvorson’s campaign. “But we had 70 African-American ministers call for Bloomberg to have the ad removed....These ministers find it distasteful and racist, and thought its tone was dangerous and appalling.”

But the ad stayed. A representative from Independence USA said the ad expressed Bloomberg’s staunch support for Kelly.

“The mayor has been clear for his entire time in office. He wants commonsense reforms that keep guns out of hands of criminals,” said Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for Independence USA. “There is no doubt there has been a surge of gun violence around Chicago. Robin Kelly has been aggressively pushing for gun reform measures – we believe this is the right way to go.”

Halvorson, however, remains confident, said Howard.

“Given that we have a dangerous snowstorm here today, turnout will be dangerously low,” Howard said. “[Debbie] was phone banking all last night....We are cautiously optimistic.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb152013

Ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Charged with Misuse of Campaign Funds

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. could face years in jail after being formally charged Friday with misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds, according to a criminal information filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

He is accused of spending approximately $750,000 of campaign funds on personal items such as a $43,350 gold-plated Rolex watch, fur coats and home furniture. In addition, Jackson was charged with accepting $28,000 in undisclosed gifts and loans.

Jackson, D-Ill., was charged with criminal conspiracy, making false statements, mail fraud and wire fraud.

Federal prosecutors typically file a criminal information rather than a grand jury indictment when there is an expectation that the person charged will plead guilty. Jackson is now likely to face a hefty fine and could spend years in jail, reportedly as long as 57 months.

"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," Jackson said in a statement released by his attorneys. "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 all the things that I did right."

Jackson, who represented the 2nd District in Illinois, a district that includes a large portion of Chicago's South Side and southeast suburbs, resigned from Congress last November only weeks after being re-elected. Jackson's departure from Congress came after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year.

The former congressman, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, first left Congress abruptly in June to seek treatment for exhaustion. After stints at treatment centers in Arizona and Minnesota, he was diagnosed as bipolar.

Jackson's wife, Sandi, who resigned from her post on the Chicago City Council last month, was charged with filing false tax returns.

As part of the criminal information filed against the former congressman Friday, Jackson faces a forfeiture allegation that would require him to give up valuable keepsakes, including memorabilia related to iconic figures such as martial arts actor Bruce Lee, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb082013

Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. Pleads Guilty in Federal Probe

US Congress(CHICAGO) -- Former Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has reached a plea agreement in connection to a federal probe into whether or not the troubled lawmaker misused campaign funds.

Earlier this month Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and making false statements, sources close to the investigation told ABC's Chicago television affiliate WLS. Jackson could now face up to five years in jail, a decision that will ultimately be made by a federal judge. The former congressman signed the plea deal on Feb. 1 in the nation's capital.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C., which has been running this investigation, had no comment when contacted Friday by ABC News.

The plea agreement comes a little over two months after Jackson stepped down from Congress. In his resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Jackson, D-Ill., acknowledged that he had made his "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, for they are my mistakes and mine alone," he wrote in the letter. "None of us is immune from our share of shortcomings or human frailties and I pray that I will be remembered for what I did right."

For months leading up to his resignation, Jackson had been on medical leave undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder. Last June, Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, suddenly left Congress to seek treatment for "exhaustion," according to his office. Weeks later his staff noted that his condition was "more serious" than initially thought. Jackson went on to spend time at treatment centers in Arizona and Minnesota before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Despite his troubles, Jackson, whose district included a large portion of Chicago's South Side and southeast suburbs, still won re-election in a landslide last November. But shortly afterward, he resigned.

"Against the recommendations of my doctors, I had hoped and tried to return to Washington and continue working on the issues that matter most to the people of the Second District. I know now that will not be possible," Jackson wrote in his letter. "The constituents of the Second District deserve a full-time legislator in Washington, something I cannot be for the foreseeable future. My health issues and treatment regimen have become incompatible with service in the House of Representatives."

According to reports, Jackson will now repay the government hundreds of thousands of dollars that he used to buy items such as a $40,000 luxury watch and home furniture.

His wife, Sandi Jackson, is also the subject of a federal probe. She left her spot on the Chicago City Council last month.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov142012

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Checks Out of Mayo Clinic

US Congress(ROCHESTER, Minn.) -- Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on Tuesday, where he had reportedly been receiving treatment for depression and bipolar disorder.  But his exact whereabouts are unknown.

Clinic spokesman Nick Hansen told the Chicago Tribune, “He is no longer a patient here.  I don’t know where he is.”

Jackson easily won re-election earlier this month against a postal worker who ran a long-shot challenge.

Jackson has reportedly been seeking a plea deal for allegedly misusing campaign funds.  Last week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that discussions were ongoing with federal officials.

Last month, sources familiar with the investigation said Jackson would be indicted for misusing campaign funds to decorate his home.

Sources familiar with the probe say investigators are also looking at allegations that Jackson bought a female friend a $40,000 Rolex watch.

Members of the House of Representatives returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, but it’s unclear if Jackson will participate in the lame-duck session.  He has been on a leave of absence from Congress since June.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov092012

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. In Talks for Plea Deal

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Attorneys for the Justice Department and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. are in talks about a possible deal regarding allegations of campaign finance violations, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Negotiations have been under way for some time.

It is unclear whether the talks will result in a plea agreement, but sources say the talks could come to some conclusion soon.

Part of the investigation's focus is on whether Jackson improperly used campaign funds for personal purchases, including furnishings for his Washington, D.C., home. The investigation is being run by the FBI's Washington Field Office.

Representative Jackson's office said he is currently receiving treatment at the Mayo Clinic -- his second prolonged stay there since being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. He is refraining from any official duties until he is given a clean bill of health by his doctors.

The Chicago congressman coasted to victory in Tuesday's election, keeping a seat he first won in a special election in 1995. Jackson won re-election despite having virtually no presence on the campaign trail. A robo-call to constituents describing his recent health troubles and thanking supporters for their "patience, your prayers … during this difficult time" appears to be the only evidence of Jackson's campaigning at all.

He has been absent from his congressional duties since this past summer. He last voted in the chamber on June 8 and has missed every one of the 225 votes since.

Jackson first came under a cloud of controversy in December 2008 when his name surfaced in the investigation of then Gov. Rod Blagojevich's scheme to peddle the Senate seat of president-elect Barack Obama. A House ethics probe into Jackson's activities was triggered but halted at the request of the Justice Department, which was conducting its own investigation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct162012

Feds Looking into Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Finances

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., the embattled Illinois congressman who has been on medical leave from Capitol Hill for the last four months undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder, is now facing even more problems after it emerged that federal investigators are looking into his finances.

As first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times and confirmed by ABC News, the federal probe is trying to get to the bottom of "suspicious activity" connected to Jackson's House seat and potentially inappropriate expenditures.

The federal investigation is the latest issue for the troubled Chicago Democrat. In June Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, suddenly left Congress, causing rumors to swirl surrounding his situation. At first, his office said Jackson was seeking treatment for "exhaustion," but two weeks later they noted that his condition was "more serious" than initially thought.

Jackson, whose district includes a large portion of Chicago's South Side and southeast suburbs, spent some time at a treatment facility in Arizona before moving to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Finally in August the clinic said Jackson was being treated for bipolar disorder and was "responding well" and "regaining his strength."

In early September Jackson returned home to his family in the nation's capital. A source told ABC News that day that Jackson "sounded good," but despite the congressional summer recess ending a week later, Jackson did not return to work.

On Monday Jackson was spotted by The Daily smoking a cigar at his Washington home near Dupont Circle, telling a reporter that he is "not well" and goes to doctor appointments twice a day at George Washington University Hospital.

In the midst of all his troubles, Jackson is currently embroiled in a re-election fight and the target of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. The congressional panel is probing how President Obama's old Senate seat -- now held by Sen. Mark Kirk -- was filled after the 2008 election.

Jackson has also seen one of his former fundraisers, Raghuveer Nayak, arrested by the FBI on charges of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to doctors. In addition, the Illinois congressman has faced marital problems with his wife Sandi last year, revealing that he had had an affair.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Rev. Jesse Jackson: No Guess When Son Will Return to Congress

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been absent from Congress for almost three months -- and Tuesday, his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said he could not even guess when his son might return to Capitol Hill.

“I don’t want to hazard a guess,” Jackson said in an interview on the ABC News/Yahoo Democratic National Convention live stream. “I mean, I’m a father in this, not -- not medical adviser,” he said. “He must make that decision as to whether … he can continue to serve.”

When Jesse Jackson Jr. abruptly took a leave of absence from Congress in early June, staffers initially pointed to “exhaustion” as the reason for his sudden disappearance, but ABC News later learned he was being treated for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

“We love him so much. We’re so caught off-guard by what happened to him, but he’s recovering, and we want him to take his time,” Jackson said. “He is slowly regaining, but he must prioritize his health and let nothing come before his health.”

Jackson said he visits his son at least once a week and sees improvement.

Jackson, 70, has spoken at six Democratic conventions in his time. But this year, like in 2008, the civil rights leader will not take the stage to speak.

Still, that’s not stopping the one-time presidential hopeful from being vocal about defending President Obama’s track record. He argued the president was being “modest” when he said he’d give himself an “incomplete” grade on his handling of the economy.

“You have to deal with what he has done, the opposition he has had: the name calling, the toxic attacks on this president -- ‘You’re not an American, you’re not a Christian, you’re not one of us’ -- and look at the alternative,” Jackson said.

“There is no alternative program for economic reconstruction and the commitment to address poverty,” he said. “I think that, when he is toe-to-toe with his opposition, won’t be able to make a contrast, will give him the edge.”

Even watching from the sidelines, Jackson rebuffed criticism that conventions are little more than just party infomercials.

“It connects people from around the country … whether you’re in California or Alabama or Vermont or Mississippi, there are certain common issues you have,” he said. “I think the convention serves a useful purpose, and it must continue.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug132012

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Undergoing Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

US Congress(CHICAGO) -- Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder, doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota announced Monday.

According to a statement from the clinic, Jackson, “is responding well to the treatment and regaining his strength.”

The announcement by the clinic comes two months after Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, abruptly left Congress. Initially Jackson’s office said the congressman, who represents a district that includes a large portion of Chicago’s South Side and southeast suburbs, was taking a medical leave of absence to seek treatment for “exhaustion.” But two weeks later his office said his condition was, “more serious than we thought.”

For weeks, Jackson’s specific condition was unknown, sparking concerns from both his colleagues and his constituents. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin warned that Jackson needed to update his condition “soon.” As the summer went on, Jackson’s office gradually released more information, culminating in Monday’s announcement by the Mayo Clinic.

Jackson had spent time this summer at a facility in Arizona before being transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. In its  statement, the clinic noted that the Illinois congressman underwent gastric bypass surgery eight years ago and such an operation, "an change how the body absorbs food, liquids, vitamins, nutrients and medications." Bipolar II disorder, the clinic said, "affects parts of the brain controlling emotion, thought and drive."

However, there is no data to suggest a causative link between gastric bypass surgery and bipolar disorder in terms of worsening the problem. The disease, which affects approximately 5.7 million Americans, is characterized by cycles of depression and elation or mania, with mood changes both slow and rapid. The types of mania involved with the disorder can lead to significant impairment, even increasing the risk for suicide. Bipolar II disorder, the type Jackson suffers from, is less severe than the type 1 form of the disorder; it involves milder forms of mood elevation and milder episodes of hypomania that alternate with periods of severe depression.

Jackson has endured a difficult time over the past several years. He is the target of a probe by the House Ethics Committee into possible wrongdoing in how President Barack Obama’s Senate seat -- now held by Sen. Mark Kirk -- was filled. Only days before Jackson left Congress on medical leave, one of his former fundraisers, Raghuveer Nayak, was arrested by the FBI on charges of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to doctors.

In addition, Jackson has faced turmoil at home. Last year his wife Sandi revealed that Jackson had engaged in an extramarital affair.

Last Thursday his wife told reporters that there was no timetable for Jackson’s return to Congress.

"At this point we are taking every day one day at a time," she said. "But we here on the ground are preparing for his eventual return. We don’t know when that’s going to be, but we want his constituents to know that they are very much on his mind."

Jackson is involved in a re-election race this fall. On the same day of his wife’s comments, Jackson’s spokesman Rick Bryant said the congressman could resume work within weeks, noting that he seemed "like his old self."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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