A sentencing hearing is underway in Washington DC for former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, former Chicago alderman Sandi Jackson.
Jackson diverted congressional campaign money for his personal use. His wife failed to report $600,000 in income.
Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Jackson does not have to pay restitution to his former campaign because it is now defunct. The government had asked that in addition to forfeiture of assets Jackson pay the money back.
Judge Jackson says there is no one to pay the money to and that a new campaign committee would have to be formed just to receive the money which she said “makes no sense.”
Jackson’s defense attorney Reid Weingarten had argued that his client is making every effort to pay restitution but the government asking for too much.
“My client wants to be able to feed his children.” Weingarten said.
Prosecutors want a 4-year prison sentence for Jackson, a year and a half for his wife.
If both get prison time, they’ll serve one at a time, so someone will be home to care for their children.
-WGN-TV producer Kelly Barnicle contributed to this report