November 18th, 2009
07:56 PM ET
4 years ago

Former congressman to remain free pending appeal of corruption conviction

Alexandria, Virginia (CNN) – A federal judge ruled Wednesday that former Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana can remain free pending appeal of his conviction on corruption charges.

The appeal must be filed by November 23.

Jefferson, a Democrat who was defeated after nine terms representing the New Orleans area, was indicted in 2007 for bribery and other charges. The case included the discovery of $90,000 in the freezer of his Washington home.

Jefferson was not present at the hearing at U.S. District Court.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis last week allowed him to waive his appearance, and to travel back to New Orleans.

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Filed under: William Jefferson
November 13th, 2009
06:29 PM ET
4 years ago

Former Louisiana congressmen gets 13-year sentence

Former Louisiana congressmen gets 13-year sentence for corruption.
Former Louisiana congressmen gets 13-year sentence for corruption.


ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) –
Former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson was sentenced Friday to 13 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction last summer on 11 counts of corruption.

There is no punitive fine but he will have to pay $1,100 in special assessments.

Jefferson did not speak in court on advice of his counsel.

The case against the former nine-term Louisiana congressman included allegations of influence-peddling and the discovery of $90,000 in cash in his freezer.

Jefferson's family was in the courtroom when District Judge T.S. Ellis handed down the sentence.

He had faced up to 150 years in prison.


Filed under: William Jefferson
November 13th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
4 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.

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Filed under: Congress • William Jefferson
August 5th, 2009
05:42 PM ET
5 years ago

Former House member convicted on corruption charges

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) – Former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana was convicted Wednesday on 11 of the 16 corruption charges against him.

Jefferson, a 62-year-old Democrat, was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 4, 2007, on corruption charges, about two years after federal agents said they found $90,000 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.

Jefferson had pleaded not guilty.

The jury convicted him on four counts of bribery, three counts of racketeering, three counts of wire fraud and one count of racketeering. He was acquitted on five other counts including wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

Jefferson had faced a maximum possible sentence of 235 years in prison if convicted on all counts.


Filed under: William Jefferson
July 30th, 2009
11:40 AM ET
5 years ago

Jury in Jefferson corruption case expected to begin deliberations

The jury in the corruption trial of former Rep. William Jefferson is expected to begin deliberating Thursday.
The jury in the corruption trial of former Rep. William Jefferson is expected to begin deliberating Thursday.

(CNN) – The jury in the corruption trial of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana was expected to begin deliberating by midday Thursday, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alexandria, Virginia, said.

Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III began giving jurors their instructions about 9:45 a.m., said Peter Carr. Closing arguments by defense and prosecution attorneys ended Wednesday.

A federal grand jury indicted Jefferson on June 4, 2007, on corruption charges after federal agents said they found $90,000 in his freezer. Authorities said the money was part of a payment in marked bills from an FBI informant in a transaction captured on video.

Jefferson, 62, was accused of using his office to solicit and receive more than $500,000 in bribes for himself and his family in exchange for promoting products and services to countries in Africa.

The Democrat pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of racketeering, money laundering, obstruction of justice and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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Filed under: William Jefferson
May 18th, 2009
11:05 AM ET
5 years ago

High court declines to step into Jefferson case

The U.S. Supreme Court is refusing to hear former congressman William Jefferson's appeal.
The U.S. Supreme Court is refusing to hear former congressman William Jefferson's appeal.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Supreme Court refused Monday to settle an ongoing dispute over the prosecution of former congressman William Jefferson on corruption charges.

The justices' denial of the onetime lawmaker's appeal means his criminal corruption trial is likely to proceed to trial later this month.

The Louisiana Democrat claims he was the victim of an overly aggressive FBI raid of his Capitol Hill offices in May 2006. He was indicted 13 months later on public corruption charges.

At issue in the appeal was whether he had constitutional protection as a lawmaker - so that evidence obtained in that search should not have been presented to the grand jury to obtain the indictment.

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Filed under: Supreme Court • William Jefferson
December 7th, 2008
10:05 AM ET
5 years ago

Indicted Louisiana congressman loses re-election bid

Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson has been embroiled in a bribery scandal.
Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson has been embroiled in a bribery scandal.

(CNN) – Nine-term Democratic Rep. William Jefferson, who has been battling scandals and a federal indictment for the past three years, lost his bid for re-election on Saturday.

Republican challenger Anh "Joseph" Cao, an attorney and community organizer, defeated Jefferson in the Louisiana 2nd Congressional district race. He will become the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Cao had almost 50 percent of the vote to Jefferson's 47 percent.

The 2nd Congressional district, in and around New Orleans, is mostly African-American and heavily Democratic, and Jefferson appeared to be favored to win re-election going into the election.

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August 3rd, 2007
02:01 PM ET
3 years ago

Appeals court: FBI search of Jefferson office violated Constitution

Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A federal appeals court ruled Friday that an FBI search last year of the congressional office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., violated the Constitution, because neither he nor his lawyer could protect materials they deemed privileged from being taken by the government.

Federal prosecutors allege that Jefferson took more than $500,000 in bribes and sought millions more, using a network of family companies to conceal the money. Jefferson denies the charges.

The court ruled that the search violated the "Speech and Debate" clause of the U.S. Constitution, which is meant to protect legislative business from any action by the executive branch, such as the Justice Department.

"We hold that a search that allows agents of the executive to review privileged materials without the (congressional) member's consent violates the clause," the ruling says.

However, the court said that only the seizing of paperwork violated the clause; "the copying of computer hard drives and other electronic media is constitutionally permissible."

Before the search, the government set up a special "filter" mechanism in which any materials that the congressman claimed fell under his privilege as a congressman would be kept away from the agents investigating him. But the court ruled that that mechanism was insufficient.

"We conclude that the congressman is entitled ... to the return of all materials (including copies) that are privileged legislative materials under the speech or debate clause," the court said in its ruling. There have been disagreements between Jefferson's lawyers and the Justice Department over how much of the material taken in the search was privileged.

The court is to determine which materials are returned to Jefferson.

In the raid of Jefferson's office in the House Rayburn Building, FBI agents seized a wide variety of paperwork as well as computer hard drives.

Jefferson's attorney, Robert Trout, issued a statement welcoming the decision, saying it "underscores the fact that the Department of Justice is required to follow the law, and that it is bound to abide by the Constitution.

Those principles will continue to be important as we raise additional legal challenges to the overreaching by the government in this case.

"We are confident that as this case moves forward, and when all of the facts are known, we will prevail again and clear Congressman Jefferson's name."

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse issued a statement saying the department "is pleased that the D.C. Circuit opinion does not find that the search of a congressional office is unconstitutional."

But he added, "We are disappointed with the ruling that requires that a member of Congress be provided advance notice and the right to review materials before the execution of a search warrant."

Roehrkasse said "the indictment and prosecution of Congressman Jefferson will not be negatively impacted by this decision."

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Filed under: William Jefferson
June 8th, 2007
11:40 AM ET
3 years ago

Jefferson: 'This is not who I am'

Watch Jefferson's comments after he entered a not guilty plea Friday.

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.

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Filed under: William Jefferson
June 5th, 2007
01:07 PM ET
3 years ago

Jefferson steps down from House committee

Jefferson stepped down from the House Small Business Committee Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. William Jefferson, the Louisiana Democrat indicted on 16 criminal counts related to corruption Monday, has temporarily stepped down from his post on the House Small Business Committee.

Jefferson informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, of his decision in a letter dated Tuesday, writing, "I have supported every ethics and lobbying reform measure that you and our Democratic Majority have authored, and I make this request for leave to support the letter and the spirit of your leadership in this area."

"In doing so I,  of course, express no admission of guilt or culpability in that or any other matter that may be pending in any court or before the House of Representatives," he added.

Jefferson was charged with a global campaign to solicit bribes, obstruct justice and engage in racketeering, Justice Department officials said Monday.

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: William Jefferson
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