Jackson Jr sentenced, ordered to report to prison in November

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

The sentencing marks the end of one chapter of the Jacksons’ fall from grace.

The longtime congressman and the son of a famed civil rights leader may have been spared when a judge handed him a 2 and a half year prison sentence instead of prison time that could have been twice that.

“I still believe in the power of forgiveness and redemption,” Jackson said this morning outside a Washington D.C. courthouse.  “I manned up and tried to accept responsibility for the errors of my ways and I still believe in the resurrection.”

Jackson left the federal courthouse with his future finally known.  The 48-year- old will be trading in his Rolex watch, his two homes and other expensive items bought with $750,000 in campaign funds for an inmate number and a prison cell.  The ex-congressman is to surrender to the bureau of prisons on November 1st.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, no relation to the defendants, called the Jackson family sentencing  a “sad” day and a complicated case. The once powerful political couple, practically royalty in the African American community, reduced to the status of defendants by their own doing.  The judge applauded the former congressman in court, citing his many political accomplishments over his 17 years on the Hill, yet she was quick to tell the husband and wife their crimes were knowing, organized, repeated and covered up.

In court Jackson Jr asked for leniency. With tears in his eyes and choking on every word he told the judge, “I know I let a lot of people down-most of all, my children.”

He also asked to be sent to a specific prison, one with some distance between he and the crime, even though it creates distance between he and his kids.

” I ask for Alabama so I can be as far away from everybody as I can be for awhile,” he said.

Then his wife had her turn before the judge and wept continuously before the court.  The ex-alderman and mother of two said, “This case has taken an enormous toll, as expected, but my heart breaks every day for the pain this has caused my babies.”

Before handing down a 12 month prison sentence to Mrs. Jackson, the judge made one thing clear to her saying, “It is not the court that put your children in this position. It is not the government that put your children in this position.”

Mr. Jackson received 2 and a half years of prison time, far less than the sentencing guidelines state.

Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Paige has been covering the Rev  Jesse Jackson since 1969. This tragic moment in their family history is a shock to the entire African American community who has turned to the elder Jackson in times of trouble. Now that his son is headed to prison, Rev Jackson is trying to make sense of the environment  he himself created right under his own roof.

“I’ve had to raise many questions to myself about (if) I confused success with sickness.  Jesse’s been driven to succeed to be effective,” Rev Jackson said.

Jesse Jackson Jr is ordered to surrender in November if he can get his financial obligations in order.  He owes $750,000 to the government as part of his plea deal. Sandi Jackson will surrender 30 days after the ex-congressman re-enters society to serve her sentence. She is requesting time in a Florida prison.

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  • Ismael

    If brother Obama has less than two years as president Then He will pardon this criminal and His wife. You watch and see, Obama has nothing to lose. That's Chicago politics. They got away easy.

    • Libertarian

      It's the reward for buying his silence, delivered by an Obama appointee, and being a good soldier. The fix was in from the White House to deliver JJ BHO's vacant Senate seat…Jr. was too stupid to play it cool and the cat got out of the bag.

  • anonymous

    Interesting point,a pardon never even crossed my mind. I just cannot believe they are letting these 2 idiots serve their sentences one after the other. The rest of us would have to serve at the same time,that is bullshit.

  • Todd

    I thought he was the son of a skirt chasing reverend that does not have a church, but preaches against poverty while wearing a thousand dollar suit.

  • DanK

    In my opinion, Sandi Jackson did worse than her husband. She got elected and re-elected as an Alderman from Chicago. They moved to Washington, D.C., yet she retained her seat as Alderman, even though she no longer resided in Chicago. She didn't attend meetings for several years, depriving the residents of her Ward true representation – and SHE ADMITTED IT. She should be forced to repay every dime of her Aldermanic salary from the time they moved from Chicago until she resigned.

  • TerryH

    I just watched Julie Unruh's news report on Jesse Jackson's sentencing. She did a fine job of covering the story, however, I groaned upon hearing her incorrect use of English when she said, "He also asked to be sent to a specific prison, one with some distance between he and the crime, even though it creates distance between he and his kids." This, of course, should have been: "between HIM and the crime," and "between HIM and his kids." This reporter sounded so professional UNTIL she betrayed her ignorance of proper English grammar.

  • Irene Leeg

    Once again, the well-connected elite get essentially a slap on the wrists from a rigged judicial system. You or I would have to serve far more time for far lesser crimes and NOT at some country club facility, either. These people should have been treated as the low class common criminals they are. They've done very little good for the communities they supposedly represented.

  • Danny D

    Funny how Jessie Jr seemed very healthy until the federal investigation started then he became bi-polar. Give me a break,, him and his arrogant wife were trusted by the people and they let them down, flat and simple! A government employee should be held to a higher standard and the book should have been thrown at them….. "I manned up" , he did only because he got caught.

  • Politico Watchdog

    I almost wanted to vomit every time I saw Jessie and his wife on TV. How could they be elected, don't the people from their districts watch the news or are they so star awe struck that they don't care about what these thieves are doing? Poor Jessie is going to a country club, even though it is a prison, I am sure he will have time to reflect and practice his forgiveness speech over and over while looking in the mirror so he can have that "sorry face" on. These two are the new poster children for what I don't want my children to turn out to be but since they are connected, life will be fine after prison, unlike any of us regular people. I wonder if the wife can wear that wig she wears? That alone will kill her, not the year of prison time.

  • karen S

    Why shd the Mrs. be treated special, she needs to serve her time now like any other person, there are alot of couples serving time and not getting chance to take care of kids while one is away. Talk about special treatment. Bi-Polar my rear, I knew when he first got treated something was coming down the pipe line and he was just lining himself up with some psycho diagnosis. They KNEW what they were doing, they just got caught. They should both go to prison now, like any other person that does a crime.

  • Guest

    Remember the Judge, Amy Berman Jackson when the time comes to vote for the judges. If enough people vote no, she's outta there. Way too lenient. With Blago they gave him 14 years to set an example. This set an example too, that if you have a big name and cry illness a lenient judge will go easy on you.

  • guest

    So typical that a Chicago politician gets over a lot easier than John Q Public…..he and his idiot wife should have been locked up the same time……for 5 years!

  • D B

    Why do they get special treatment? Oh wait, they are from a powerful family. All powerful families and celebrities get special treatment. Normal people don't. Thats the government for you. The US is a sad place anymore.

  • Burntheracecard

    Funny how the guy that turned himself in since he shot and killed someone on the safe passage route is claiming to have a mental instability too.

  • Liz

    It’s so sad that this country protects these criminals more than our heroes. If an active duty couple with children need to go overseas they are sent at the same time essentially leaving a big possibility that the kids could be left orphans. How effed up has America gotten that even our heroes aren’t given the leniency to have one parent stay behind to care for the children while the other is in harm’s way. Disgusting!

  • Alan

    It's a BS sentence. He and his should have gotten the full sentence the law allowed. This dirt bag stole from the very people he was to represent. He's no better the drug dealers in Englewood or Riverdale that take advantage of their own people. If Jackson ran for office again the majority of his voters would put back in office….that's the sad piece of this.