November 13th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
9 years ago

Sentencing scheduled for former Louisiana congressman

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) - Former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court Friday for his conviction last summer on 11 counts of corruption.

He faces a sentence of up to 150 years in prison, but the judge may accept sentencing guidelines that range from 27 to 33 years. Prosecutors and Jefferson's defense attorney have filed arguments they hope will influence the judge's decision.

The case has included allegations of influence-peddling and the discovery of $90,000 in cash in Jefferson's freezer.

Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who served 18 years in Congress representing the New Orleans area, already faces the forfeiture of nearly half a million dollars - money a jury said is linked to criminal activity for which he stands convicted.

The jury August 5 found Jefferson guilty on four bribery counts, three counts of money laundering, three counts of wire fraud and one count of racketeering. He was acquitted on five other counts including wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

He has remained free pending Friday's sentencing and was granted his request, after the jury's verdict, to take a long drive back to his Louisiana home.

Jefferson was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 4, 2007, about two years after federal agents said they found the money in his freezer.
Authorities said the cash was part of a payment in marked bills from an FBI informant in a transaction captured on video.

The start of the trial was delayed to resolve whether an FBI search of Jefferson's congressional office was constitutional.

Defense attorney Robert Trout has asked the judge for leniency, citing Jefferson's personal history of humble beginnings and long-standing public service.

But prosecutors filed a response saying Jefferson deserves no preferential treatment, since he "still chose to cheat, steal and lie."

"Congressman Jefferson has still not accepted responsibility for his own criminal conduct," prosecutors wrote, and that he "still rationalizes his own unethical, illegal and immoral conduct."

Filed under: Congress • William Jefferson
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Buck Wheat

    Still people voted for this guy? Obummer?

    November 13, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. victim of republican greed

    One down, and the entire republican culture of corruption to go.

    November 13, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Ron in California

    Where are the big three CBS, NBC and ABC on this story. If it were a Republican they would be all over it. Also, did you hear anything form them on the House ethics investigations of mostly Dems?

    November 13, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. AJ

    I am a lifelong democrat and I believe that Jefferson should be given the maximum sentence. Its time that Americans stood up and held our leaders to a higher standard.

    November 13, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Uh oh. The democrats are losing their poster boy. Thank goodness they Traficant to cover. 🙂

    November 13, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. Idiot_Pelosi

    Let me guess. OBOZO is going to PARDON him.

    November 13, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. Wmscot

    Lets continue to clean bothe houses !

    November 13, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. BestProfitCompany = WAR

    Good riddance! I don't care if you are Democrat or rethuglican. If you are corrupt you need to be punished... severely.

    I know rethuglicans are going to say ALL democrats are corrupt. But they don't realize that all politicians are vulnerable to corruption especially if you serve many years. Get one thing straight rethuglicans! There are more convicted rethuglicans than they are Democrats.

    November 13, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Frank White

    Typical Democrat.

    November 13, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Mike S., New Orleans

    Dollar Bill goes to prison, his brother Mose goes to prison, his sister Betty is facing trial and will most likely go to prison, but the damage they all did to the city of New Orleans will last for decades. They bred a culture of corruption, reveled in it, and still don't think they did anything wrong. Good bye, and good riddance.

    November 13, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. SocialismBad

    FINALLY this Democrat CROOK gets justice! The Democrat Culture of Corruption in Congress and across the country needs to be prosecuted fully. When is Dodd going to see justice for his dealings? What about Charlie Rangell??

    November 13, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. sniffit

    Typical Liberal.

    November 13, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Terry from West Texas

    I hope they throw the book at Jefferson. An elected public servant who takes a bribe is undermining our democratic institutions. I'm a Liberal who usually votes for the Democratic Party candidate or for a third party candidate if the Democrat is totally unacceptable. All voters have been betrayed by Jefferson. Life in prison is my recommendation.

    November 13, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. DJ

    Randall Duke Cunnigham took worse bribes and only got 8 years. Jefferson getting 30 years while Republicans like Alaska's Ted Stephens walk or only get sentenced to 8 years is not fair. In fact Cunnigham will be out of jail early by the time Jefferson gets to his cell.

    November 13, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. corruption?

    Hmmmm. Sounds like ACORN.

    November 13, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. elliott

    Too bad we can't sentence William Jefferson Clinton also.......

    November 13, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. B

    Put this guy on ICE as he did with the money.....

    November 13, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Jefferson's family tree is littered with criminals and you'd think he wouldn't continue down the same road. He deserves whatever he gets and he really doesn't have a defense, he's a lawyer and you certainly would think he would know what the results of his criminal activity would cause him. Looks like his greed got the better of him.

    November 13, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. Garry from Kentucky

    I'm a lifelong Democrat. Although these days I sometimes can't tell the difference between a Democrat and a Republican. Whether male or female they tend to be a pack of lying, thieving, crooks at best. They should throw ole Mr. Jefferson under the jail and throw away the key.

    November 13, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. southerncousin

    Pelosi and Rangel hopefully are not far behind Jefferson.

    November 13, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. Tony

    He'll die in prison like he deserves. That's all that really matters.

    November 13, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Jefferson

    Sarah Palin : modern day cultist.

    November 13, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. lovable liberal

    150 years would be a little harsh. A little. But corrupt officials need to do some real hard time.

    November 13, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. Matt

    I hope to hear all the "outrage" we heard on these boards after the Sanford news hit the airwaves. The reality is that politicians, no matter what side of the aisle, have proven to be shady at best. We need a strong third party in this country that can stay closer to the center than the Republican and Democrat parties have moved. We also need shorter election cycles so candidates can no longer buy elections by making promises to those that donate the most. Let's be serious, he was supposed to be the candidate of change but President Obama spent more than a quarter billion dollars on his campaign. We know the largest contributor was Goldman Sachs but where did the rest of that money come from and who does he owe because of it? Shady politics all around us people...let's send a message to Washington that we don't like anything from either side of the aisle and we want TRUE change.

    November 13, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Thomas

    I hope he shares a cell with Randy " Duke " Cunningham !

    November 13, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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