WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. William Jefferson pleaded not guilty Friday to numerous charges in a federal corruption indictment, saying the allegations against him "were contrived, many of them as part of a sting" operation.
"I implore you - the press and the public - to keep an open mind," he said outside the courthouse after his trial was set for January 16.
He vowed to fight as hard as it takes. "We will sell every stick of furniture in our home, and everything else that we may possess, to clear our name and to see that justice is done."
Jefferson faces a 16-count indictment charging him with soliciting bribes, wire fraud, racketeering, money laundering, obstruction of justice and conspiracy, as well as violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly seeking bribes from foreign officials.
Prosecutors say he and his family members netted hundreds of thousands dollars in the scam.
Jefferson committed much of his public statement to describing his family, including his five children's prestigious higher education degrees.
"This is the same family that the U.S. attorney and the FBI and, I guess, some in Justice want you to believe is a family of bribers, racketeers and conspirators," he said.
"But this is not who we are, this is not who I am. This is not what I have done."
The indictment came nearly two years after federal agents reported finding $90,000 in a freezer during a raid on Jefferson's Washington home. A separate raid on Jefferson's Capitol Hill office sparked a dispute over separation of powers between the then-Republican-led Congress and the White House.
Jefferson said Friday the $90,000 was "the FBI's money," which the FBI gave him as part of a "plan that I would give it to the Nigerian vice president. But I did not do that."
He said all the allegations against him are untrue. "Did I make a mistake in judgment along the way? Yes I did - that I deeply regret. But did I sell my office or conduct official acts for money? Absolutely not. This case involves purely private business activities and not official acts by me. "
Jefferson spoke after his arraignment, during which he waived his right to a speedy trial. A trial was set to begin January 16.