Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. cried and admitted fault when addressing the court during his sentencing hearing Wednesday.
“Throughout this process, I asked the court to hold me and only me accountable for my actions. I misled the American people; I misled the House of Representatives; I misled the media…I was wrong. I don’t fault anyone.”
“I want to apologize to my dad and to my mother,” he continued, and started to choke up.
“I am the example for the whole Congress. I take responsibility for my actions,” Jackson said. “I know I let a lot of people down because of my conduct…most of all my children.”
At this point, Jackson began breaking down and crying.
“So I ask for Alabama so I can be as far away from everybody for a while so I can be,” Jackson said in regards to his prison preference.
“I hope our children will be old enough to bare the pain I have caused,” he continued. “I certainly don’t want the IRS harassing my family while I’m away, so if I could pay them first.”
Jackson thanked the court after he finished speaking.
Prior to this statement, Jackson’s defense attorney Reid Weingarten asked the judge to consider a prison sentence of 18 months.
Weingarten has said Jackson “adores” his children and wants to come home as soon as possible.
He added that “there is fragility here” referring to Jackson’s mental state and says he would prefer a camp and to be treated by a psychiatrist, stating that the Bureau of prisons isn’t the best place for him.
“There is not even an agreement among his doctors on what he suffers from,” said prosecutor Matt Graves. “We don’t even know what his medical needs precisely are.”
He then said not disputing his diagnosis just the evidence put before the court.
“The defendant does not deserve credit for doing his job as a congressman. That was his job!” Graves said. “The waste is tragic but the crime is serious.”
Weingarten also asked that Jackson serve his time first, then his wife Sandi.
The former Chicago alderman pleaded guilty to tax fraud and will also be sentenced Wednesday.
— Reporting by WGN-TV Producer Kelly Barnicle