July 30th, 2009
11:40 AM ET
12 years ago

Jury in Jefferson corruption case expected to begin deliberations

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/06/louisiana.congress/art.jefferson.gi.jpg caption="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.

Carr said Jefferson could face a maximum sentence of up to 235 years in prison, if convicted.

The trial began June 9 with the questioning of a large pool of potential jurors.

Jefferson represented parts of New Orleans for 18 years, nine terms, before he lost his House seat in the December 2008 election.

Filed under: William Jefferson
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Guilty as charged!

    July 30, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. nom deplume, esq.

    Why is this case going forward. Jefferson is Black and a Democrat. So he can't possibly be guilty of anything. This is just another example of RACIAL PROFILING and the white establishment trying to keep the black man down!

    July 30, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. GOP = Part of Tolerance

    Jefferson is no longer in Congress and has had to face the taint of these bribery charges. He is completely out of power and is now unemployable, aged, broken and decrepit. He has paid a significant price already in terms of his reputation and income. There is no need for taxpayers to spend $26,000 per year to house this senior citizen in a federal prison for the rest of his life.

    July 30, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. southerncousin

    These darn republicans, stealing money all the time. What ever happened to that tax cheat investigation of Charlie Rangel that Pelosi was conducting? Did the libs find a way to blame that on Bush/Cheney or was it just swept under the rug like so many of the scandals involving libs?

    July 30, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Ted Tartaglia

    If he is guilty, he should go to jail. Politicians of whatever party should be accountable for their actions.

    July 30, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. RealityKing

    Jefferson is now counting on his race for freedom. How ironic..

    July 30, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Old Farmboy

    I bet it's a white judge. That's the only reason this case is where it is. Hopefully, the jury will see this case for what it is and let this man go free. I think that judge, Democratic African-American Rep William Jefferson and myself should meet at the brick house (aka my place), have a beer and talk this out. This may offend some, but I prefer Budweiser. I will make sure that the judge and Rep William Jefferson has whatever they wish. Cajun food will be served.

    July 30, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Mick

    Send that Democratic crook to the clink. Have a Nice DAY..

    July 30, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. B

    Thought this person was already in Jail.......

    July 30, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Jeff Brown

    This guy is a bum!

    July 30, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. single mom

    He wasn't reelected in 2008? My faith in New Orleans' voters just went up a bit after they reelected Nagy.

    Did he ever explain why he had so much 'cold cash?'
    (Sorry. Couldn't resist!)

    July 30, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    Put him in jail – ban him from the political scene. He's as bad as the men that hire prostitutes and then their parents pay, or run off to Argentina and leave their kids on Father's day.

    NO FAVORS for race. This man deserves jail. He sold his VOTES.

    July 30, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. makesUwonder

    I'm sure when this is all over it will end up just like it did with Charles Rangel. Guilty as hell, but just like the Democrats, they will look the other way.

    July 30, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Brian - Trinidad

    Free Legal Advice. Jefferson should present as a defence that he kept the cash in the freezer because he was afraid if he put it into the banks it would be lost.All he has to do is point to the recent banking fiasco as proof.

    July 30, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. susie

    The grand jury acted, "stupidly".

    July 30, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. George

    What is there to deliberate? The man had cash stashed in his freezer.

    July 30, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    The poster boy for the democratic party.......the party of hope and change.

    July 30, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Allelujah

    another corrupt Republican ! When they don't cheat on their wives they hide $$$ in their freezers !

    July 30, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Nathan,

    He's innocent. Dosen't everybody keep $90,000 in the freezer. Have you never heard of "cold cash".

    July 30, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Allelujah

    Oops, the man is a democrat. Sorry

    July 30, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Ben in Texas

    If you're going to get into political crime, you need to do it in a big way. Like George and Dick. Then, you don't go to jail. You get public speaking jobs instead, and get to go on TV and criticize the guys who were elected to clean up your mess.

    This guy Jefferson is bush league, but not in Bush's league, when it comes to corruption.

    July 30, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. Mississippi Mike

    Come on, are you telling me that having $90,000 in marked bills in your refridgerator and overwhelming evidence against you is enough to imprison a New Orleans politician? If he gets thrown in jail the courts will be setting a dangerous precedent. Locking up all of the criminals who also happen to be politicians in The Big Easy will leave the city without any elected officials to take bribes, frequent the brothels and run the city into the ground. Who's going to do it?

    July 30, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Classy 57

    This will undoubtedly be another black politician that gets off the hook . But he should never get an American's vote ever again for any political office.

    July 30, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Sick -n- Tired

    This guy is soooooo done! And I'm glad! We really don't need more government. All we need is more government oversight, and to implement tough restictions and regulations on lobbyist! In my opinion lobbying should be banned anyway! But we all know that won't happen because there's too much money to be made and too many palms to grease!!!!!

    July 30, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. Al-NY,NY

    Although New Orleans is notoriously corrupt (re police, politicians, etc), it looks like another politician is gonna see the inside of a cell. Bye bye

    July 30, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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