Federal prosecutors, in documents filed today, asked a judge to send former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife, former Alderman Sandi Jackson, to jail. However, they don’t want to send the Jacksons to prison at the same time.
Since the couple has two children, aged 9 and 13, they suggest that the Jacksons do time behind bars at different times. Prosecutors asked that Jesse Jackson, Jr. be sentenced to four years in prison and that his wife be sentenced to 18 months.
Under the prosecutors’ scenario, Sandi would do her time first. If sentenced to a year and a half, they expect she’d be back with her children on home confinement in a little over a year, if she exhibits good behavior in prison. Then her husband would go in.
Former congressman Jackson was convicted of looting his campaign fund and going on a wild spending spree by purchasing watches, jewelry, vacations and outrageous celebrity memorabilia.
In a 45 page sentencing memo, prosecutors described a “flagrant disregard for the law” on Jackson Jr.’s part and that he “chose to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars despite having advantages in life and financial resources that few possess and that most can only dream of obtaining.”
Sandi Jackson pleaded guilty to failing to report about $600,000 of income to the IRS. Along with the sentence, she’d need to pay $168,000 in restitution.
For her husband, restitution and forfeiture combined would total $1.5 million.
This sentence may cost the couple some of their possessions, like their homes in the South Shore and in Washington, DC.
Sentencing memos from their lawyers were also due today. In his, Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s team asks for a sentence on the low end, pointing to all the good he did in office, the letters of support from constituents, and the fact that he cooperated with the investigation.
Notably blacked out from the memo for all but the judge are references to Jackson, Jr.’s health problems, but the point gets made.
His lawyers stated in the memo, “Mr. Jackson’s severe depression and bipolar disorder require intense ongoing treatment. His mental health may well worsen under the stress of incarceration.”
His lawyers also note no risk of a repeat offense and no victims pleading for justice. They say the Jacksons are just a family looking at enormous consequences for its youngest members.
In the memo, his lawyers said “If Mr. Jackson is sentenced to a lengthy prison term, the effect on his children will be devastating.”
They’ll be sentenced July 3.