Story Summary

Jesse Jackson Jr., wife Sandi plead guilty to federal charges

A federal judge sentenced former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. to 30 months, or 2-and-a-half years, in prison for misuse of campaign funds.

His wife, former Chicago alderman Sandi Jackson, was sentenced to 12 months for tax fraud.

In late November 2012, Jackson Jr. resigned from his Illinois Congressional seat in the second district. In January, Sandi Jackson stepped down from her position at Chicago’s 7th Ward alderman.

Both pleaded guilty in February.

On October 29, Jesse Jackson Jr. entered a minimum security prison in North Carolina to begin serving his sentence.

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After a brief recess, the court is now focused on former Chicago alderman Sandi Jackson, who has pleaded guilty to tax fraud.

Jackson has been wiping tears from her eyes as her Attorney Dan Webb explains to the judge his reasons Sandi should receive probation.

Webb told the court that Jackson’s character and service as a 7th Ward Alderman should be taken into consideration. Reading quotes and letters from Sandi’s friends and colleagues, Webb told the judge her “leadership and dedication for the disadvantage is second to none.”

“If a jail sentence is imposed on Sandi Jackson, there will be enormous harm to the children who will lose their mother,” he said.

Webb said Jesse and Sandi’s children “need Sandi Jackson’s love and support and her nurturing…they need it now.”

Webb said Sandi’s “overwhelming compulsion to admit that she was wrong” took place within three to four weeks, Webb said, and he has never had a case move that fast.   He said it is because she “accepted responsibility.”

–Reporting by WGN-TV Producer Kelly Barnicle

Rod Blagojevich’s name made its way into this sentencing hearing.

The judge has said nothing from Blagojevich’s trial has an impact here.

However, Jesse Jackson Jr.’s defense attorney Reid Weingarten has said he was in the courtroom when Jackson testified in Blagojevich’s trial. He reminded the judge that Jackson was never a “target “ of the investigation and that Jackson was a “critical witness”  in the Blagojevich case.

Weingarten also said he saw behavior in Jackson that distressed him.

He then added that when Jackson was indicted he immediately came to terms with his conduct and wanted to spare the government any additional expense by entering a plea.

Weingarten also asked the judge to consider Jackson’s health  when sentencing: “He suffers from a very, very serious mental health disease.”

“He is a guy with an iconic dad,” Weingarten added. “He is a guy who has been under a microscope his entire life.”

–By WGN-TV Producer Kelly Barnicle

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

Jesse Jackson and his wife Sandi Jackson have arrived to the federal courthouse in Washington DC where they will be sentenced today.

Jackson diverted congressional campaign money for his personal use.

His wife failed to report $600,000 in income.

Prosecutors want a 4-year prison sentence for Jackson, a year and a half for his wife.

This morning, Jackson may argue that his bipolar disorder entitles him to a light sentence.

Sentencing guidelines will be spelled out at 8:30 a.m. today in Washington.

The Jackson’s will appeal for leniency, and then a decision will be handed down.

If both get prison time, they’ll serve one at a time, so someone will be home to care for their children.

Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi will learn in a few hours how long they’ll spend in prison.

Jackson diverted congressional campaign money for his personal use.

His wife failed to report $600,000 in income.

Prosecutors want a 4-year prison sentence for Jackson, a year and a half for his wife.

This morning, Jackson may argue that his bipolar disorder entitles him to a light sentence.

Sentencing guidelines will be spelled out at 8:30 a.m. today in Washington.

The Jackson’s will appeal for leniency, and then a decision will be handed down.

If both get prison time, they’ll serve one at a time, so someone will be home to care for their children.

Tomorrow, Jesse Jackson Jr and his wife Sandi will stand before a federal judge in Washington D.C.  to find out how long he’s going to prison.

Almost six months ago, with tears in his eyes, the former congressman stood before a different judge and plead guilty to using his campaign money for personal expenses—in many cases, on extravagant items.

Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sentencing WednesdayJackson was charged with using $750,000 in campaign cash to buy a Rolex watch, Michael Jackson memorabilia, even expensive elk heads to name a few of the lavish purchases. His wife was charged with tax fraud for going along with the financial deceit.

Last November, Jackson resigned from congress after holding office for more than 17 years. His wife resigned as alderman in January.  It was bitter ending after news of a federal investigation became public and forced their hands.

Tomorrow marks the end of an era for a man who had everything; power, a future and a name recognized the world over. Jesse Jackson Jr has lost everything and tomorrow he learns how long he will lose his freedom, too.

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. wants to serve his time far from Chicago if he’s sentenced to prison for misspending campaign funds.

Jackson and his wife, Sandi, will find out their punishments Wednesday at federal court in Washington DC.

With prison time likely, the former congressman is aiming to serve at facilities in either Alabama or North Carolina to allow his family to visit somewhat conveniently from Washington.

Jesse Jackson Jr. is set to be sentenced at 8:30 Wednesday morning Chicago time and Sandi Jackson will learn her fate about an hour later.

Jackson pleaded guilty to misusing $750,000 of his campaign funds and federal prosecutors have recommended a four-year sentence.

Sandi Jackson pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns and could face up to 18 months.

Their defense lawyer filed a request Monday, indicating that the former congressman’s first preference is the federal prison camp in Montgomery, Alabama because it’s the closest facility to Washington.

Jackson’s second choice is considered the crown jewel in the federal prison system.

The federal correctional institution in Butner, NC has a college campus feel and includes a medical center.

Butner is currently home to former Chicago police commander John Burge and convicted ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff.

While the sentencing judge may suggest where Jackson should serve any prison time, inmate placement is actually determined by the Bureau of Prisons based on a variety of factors including medical needs.

Jackson’s lawyers say he requires continued treatment for severe depression and bipolar disorder.

Jesse Jackson Jr. will be sentenced Wednesday for official corruption.

Now, Jackson’s lawyer says his client has a preference of prisons.

Jackson says he would like to spend any prison time at either a federal prison camp in Montgomery, Alabama, or a prison in Butner, North Carolina.

Both prisons allow inmates regular contact with their families.

Jackson was convicted of misusing campaign funds.

His wife, former Alderman Sandi Jackson, failed to report $600,000 of income.

She’ll also be sentenced Wednesday.

Jesse Jackson Jr  revealed his preferences of prisons should he be hit with jail time.

Lawyers for Jackson made the requests in a court filing today.

Jackson says he would prefer to spend time behind bars at either the federal prison camp in Montgomery, Alabama or the federal correctional institution in Butner, North Carolina.

Jackson and his wife, Sandi, are both scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday in Washington D.C.

In two days, former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will learn how long he’ll spend in prison for stealing from his campaign fund.

But, the brother of former Governor Rod Blagojevich says Jackson still hasn’t come clean about his role in trying to buy a U.S. Senate seat.

Robert Blagojevich says two men approached him on Jackson’s behalf, and offered to raise a lot of campaign cash if the governor appointed Jackson to the Senate.

Robert Blagojevich says Jackson still needs to be held accountable for the bribery attempt.

Jackson maintains he never sent anyone to offer a bribe.

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