October 13th, 2007
08:31 AM ET
7 years ago

Congressman Jefferson sat silently by in court

Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Congressman William Jefferson, D-Louisiana, appeared in a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Va. late Friday to watch federal prosecutors and his defense lawyers tangle over legal motions leading up to his scheduled bribery racketeering and money laundering trial.

Jefferson, who was indicted for allegedly taking bribes relating to business dealings in Africa, sat silently beside his lawyers as they tried to get some of the 16 counts against him thrown out.

"There can be no bribery if he was not engaged in official acts," argued his lawyer Amy Berman Jackson.

"The conduct may be reprehensible, it may be distasteful, it may violate House rules, but it does not violate a statute," Jackson argued. She said Congressmen use their influence to assist constituents all the time.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Lytle argued accepting things of value in exchange for using their influence is what the bribery laws are all about.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis seemed unpersuaded by the defense arguments, but issued no rulings Thursday.

Ellis prompted chuckles throughout the courtroom when he gently admonished attorneys for both sides for referring to the $90,000 discovered in a freezer in an FBI raid on Jefferson's home as "cold, hard cash".

"We don't need to refer to cold and hard cash, the judge said.

Ellis said he would schedule additional pre-trial motions, but did not do so Friday.

As a smiling relaxed Congressman Jefferson left the courthouse he declined to speak to reporters or to indicate whether he intended to attend further such pre-trial sessions.

Jefferson's trial is scheduled to being on January 16 of next year.

– CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. laurinda,ny

    TOM DEDHAM..I don't care what people say. They can say anything they want. You are the one that gets other people mad because they aren't a Republican. You even had that guy mad when he told you that you don't know him at all so don't think you do. You were practically jumping out of the computer about Laura Bush because someone said she was drinking. I am kind of use to you now, but you are a pest.

    October 13, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    Ryan Indianapolis:

    As I've said before, Republicans are just as corrupt as Democrats. Both parties can be hypocrites at times.
    Don't you agree?

    In regards to Democrats calling for resignation, I guess you missed the article from Fox News. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, suggested it was time for Jefferson to step down.

    Sure I know that its not the same thing as calling for resignation, but IMO, there isn't whole lot of difference. Though I do agree with you, more Dems should call for resignation/condemn him for his actions.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,278573,00.html

    October 13, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Pam, boston

    HOW LONG ARE WE A FREE COUNTRY? DUMMYCRATS WILL RULE AND TELL YOU WHAT TO DO SOON!!!

    October 13, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. Antonio, Tempe AZ

    As a dem I say investigate him and punish him according to the law. We don't need this guy.

    October 13, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Paul C., Palmetto Bay, FL

    Apparently it is not possible for a member of Congress to commit a crime.

    October 13, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  6. Tom Dedham, Mass

    As a dem I say investigate him and punish him according to the law. We don't need this guy.

    Posted By Antonio, Tempe AZ : October 13, 2007 5:44 pm

    See laurinda, this is how a rational thinking person would react to someone doing something wrong NO MATTER THE PARTY.

    And the guy who said I don't know him. so I shouldn't judge him, mistook my "enjoy the kool-aid remark" as being a racial remark and when I schooled him explaining that it was a shot at BIASED thinking and nothing else, all was well.

    Sorry, you said that Laura Bush was drinking and that is an out and out LIE. It was an accident, period.

    The next posting that you make based on facts or any reasoned thinking will be your FIRST.

    I stand by my postings and the salutations I get from both sides of the political fence (sometimes), and as for me being a pest, I forgot more than you know about anything and I can easily make that "leap of faith" by your unintelligent postings and the amount of "slams" you get for your postings from EVERYONE.

    Big fuzzy hugs.

    October 14, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. B Burnett, Madison, WI

    The general rule in Washington is that the Republicans are twice as corrupt as the Democrats, and the Democrats are twice as inept as the Republicans.
    Jefferson notwithstanding, this Republican Administration has had it both ways, twice as corrupt and twice
    as inept.
    Still, it is mighty hard to believe that any elected official who keeps large cash sums in his freezer, shoebox in the closet, sock drawer, etc. has not gotten that cash from illicit sources.
    At least the Democrats in the House threw him off of committees, which is about all they can legally do until found guilty.

    October 14, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. Ryan Indianapolis

    TOM DEDHAM..I don't care what people say. They can say anything they want. You are the one that gets other people mad because they aren't a Republican. You even had that guy mad when he told you that you don't know him at all so don't think you do. You were practically jumping out of the computer about Laura Bush because someone said she was drinking. I am kind of use to you now, but you are a pest.

    Posted By laurinda,ny : October 13, 2007 3:22 pm

    Lady please get some help,,your posts sound like an 8yr lil girl that rides on the short bus....Please for Godsake please stop embarrassing yourself or at least post under another name, cause lady you sound like a plain idiot.

    October 15, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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