Given the circumstances, attempting to seize Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s house is not an unusual move. Convicted of looting his own campaign fund, Jackson owes the government $1.5 million. Prosecutors are just making sure his assets are secure, but in doing so, they offer a strong reminder of all he did wrong.
Already convicted of using campaign cash to go on a wild spending spree, Jackson has agreed to hand over some of the things he bought. Mostly furs and celebrity memorabilia, the 24 items in total put just a small dent in the $750,000 in forfeitures plus that much again in restitution he has to pay. And in the prosecution’s latest court filing, there were some strong words about how far this prominent family went wrong.
Jackson’s house in the South Shore and the other family home in Washington were both owned by the couple until, prosecutors say, they were transferred to a family trust in 2008 while the Jackson’s we in the middle of their crime spree. Now the Feds want the keys to both, along with about $80,000 the ex-congressman has in an IRA.
Said legal analyst Terry Sullivan, “When the government works out something, they usually don’t have to go chasing after what the agreement was.”
The motion to seize the homes will be dealt with in federal court on Wednesday, the couple’s sentencing day. Their lawyers are asking for leniency. Prosecutors want both to do prison time.
The feds stipulate that there is a distinction between chasing assets and securing them. But there is, among some observers, another worry here: that any additional sign of impropriety, by either member of the once-powerful couple, sends a message that could resonate during next week’s sentencing.
Said Sullivan, “If you agree to something and you’re hoping to get a lenient sentence, you don’t want to have the government coming back in and saying, ‘Hey, he’s not doing what he’s supposed to be doing.’”