November 13th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
5 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. Joe M

    90 years would be about. right...$1000 for every year for the money found in his frige..27 years is to short. And 10 years is a joke.

    November 13, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Flipper

    The William Jefferson story is a textbook example of how Dems operate. While the Dems were running around accusing certain members of the GOP of being corrupt in 2006, you had scores of Dems ranging from Jefferson in Louisiana to Dodd in Connecticut to Rangel in New York to Murtha in Pennsylvania who were consistently engaging in corrupt practices and despicable betrayals of the American voters' trust.

    The traditional media played ball with the Dems & ran numerous, unrelenting stories on a few GOP congressmen in 2006. Yet in 2009, stories about the corrupt practices of Dem leaders are few & far between.

    Why is that do ya think? Fox News covers these stories and the tolerant Left claims that they're "not a news organization," yet when mainstream media outlets pay lip service to corrupt Dems, they are lauded as ideal, "objective" news organizations.

    Something is not right here.

    November 13, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Kevin in Ohio

    Let him rot.

    November 13, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. Joe Cotton

    Sad day...another good man destroyed.

    November 13, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    re : "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."

    sounds like a typical democrat to me....

    November 13, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Beka

    Real leaders assure the masses that everything is going to be alright, Tyrants use fear and intimidation to keep their people scared.

    November 13, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. yuri

    Is this the guy who hid a lot of dough in the freezer and still denied any wrong doing? Let the rule of law prevail.

    November 13, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. terry,va

    Why did they catch this small fish? $90,000 is nothing to put in a freezer. Most people have more than that in a couple of freezers, under bed mattress, etc.

    November 13, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. barbara

    represented new orleans? no doubt he has ties with ACORN.

    November 13, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. terry,va

    How about getting the big crooks like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd?

    November 13, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Sea.gem

    Thought Pelosi's people were clean and she was going to "drain the swamp"...why isn't this a heaadline story?...oh yeah...you have to keep the focus on Palin...what about the other 40 Dems under investigation?

    November 13, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. D.

    The party affiliation is not in the headlines, must be a democrat!

    November 13, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. Monster Zero

    That rotten GOP scum bag crooked politician! What? Oh he is a Democrat, gee I guess it is okay then. Maybe he can take over Teddy's Senate seat.... I'm sure this Administration has a high ranking place for him, this automatically qualifies him through their vetting process.

    November 13, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. chill

    The fact that he was a well-paid and powerful Congressman, if anything, should be reason enough to throw the book at him.

    November 13, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. LacrosseDad

    Frank-Dodd-Waters are next.

    November 13, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. jerry

    "still rationalizes his own unethical, illegal and immoral conduct."

    He's black. If that doesn't explain it for you, nothing will

    November 13, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Mac

    Thank goodness you buried the fact he was
    a Democrat 4 paragraphs down.... Regardless
    of your political persuasion, I see this right up
    front when it's the other party, but no – not here.
    Not CNN, or NBC, or ABC.

    November 13, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. phoenix86

    Leave room in his cell for Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Dodd, Frank, Rangel, Randell, Waxman, Boxer, Feinstein, Kerry and Obama.

    Gitmo will be empty by then. Plenty of room for them to walk around without doing any more harm to America.

    November 13, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    This is clearly Bush's fault!

    November 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. panem et circensus

    Poster boy for term limits...

    November 13, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. unshrub

    Throw him in jail beside Madoff. They are both crooks.

    November 13, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. SocialismBad

    No remorse, no admission of guilt, show him no mercy. Sentence him to the MAX and send a message to all the other corrupt politicians. If you're on the take and get caught, you'll spend the rest of your life in prison.

    November 13, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Jimmy James

    Well, well ,well. Nice to see a story about a corrupt democrat buried in this section of CNN. If it was arepublican it would have been front page news. The ticker headline would be about something other than Sarah Palin.

    November 13, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. hongli

    A TYPICAL DAY in the life of a REPUBLICAN. You could fool some of the people some of the time, you could fool all of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

    November 13, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. Manner

    I do not know how a country that produces so many intellectuals and leading figures in athletics, finance, philosophy, business, religion, economics, politics, journalism, science, literature, engineering, linguistics, and all other skilled areas gives so much attention to this bozo Sarah Palin, common Republican Party please do better.

    November 13, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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