November 13th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
13 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. JB

    Manner, what does Sarah Palin have to do with a corrupt Democrat being sentenced for cheating his constituents? Did I miss something in the article?

    November 13, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. JB

    Sniffit, the guy is a DEMOCRAT, not a Republican, pretty clearly stated in the article actually, what are you "sniffing" over their, glue?

    November 13, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Pete from NOLA

    all I can say is....Good Riddance! Corrupt pols like Jefferson are really hindering NOLA's revitalization. Clean 'em out!

    November 13, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Robin

    @JB November 13th, 2009 4:49 pm ET

    Manner, what does Sarah Palin have to do with a corrupt Democrat being sentenced for cheating his constituents? Did I miss something in the article?

    It's the way Libs fight. Like 3rd graders on a playground.

    We say, "We don't like the direction Obama is taking the country in."

    Libs respond, "Ohhhhh yeaaaaah, well Palin is stupid. 8 years of Bush. John McCain is old."

    November 13, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. Tony

    *LOL* @ morons claiming Dollar Bill Jefferson is a Republican. He's not just a Democrat, he's a poster-boy Democrat!

    November 13, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. diridi

    At the same time, impeach this south carolina Mark Sandarson idiot too....then John Ensign...ok....these idiots need to be gone....dig in Mitch Mcconnol idiot issues...too...nation benefits....

    November 13, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. Bob in Pa

    What I want to know is how my freezer got in that mans garage in the first place.

    November 13, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. GOPBslapper

    Jefferson goes to jail, but Tom Delay who did the same exact thing but on a scale 10 times larger, is allowed to resign and go to Washington to become a GOP Lobbyist.
    Not that I think Jefferson shouldn't go to jail, but Delay got away free and clear and now reaps millions as a Lobbyist.

    November 13, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. Bob in Pa

    By the way, some of you are insulting Republicans here, this man was a Dem.

    November 13, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. JB

    Again, Sniffit is totally wrong, James Traficant, convict of corruption and sent to jail was a DEMOCRAT from Ohio. There's this place called Google where you can actually look this stuff up and get the facts, check it out.

    November 13, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. JB

    Also, jerry and Bluebonnet should not be allowed to post that kind of garbage in the Ticker, c'mon CNN moderators, this has no place here.

    November 13, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. Mark from Louisiana

    He should be hung so the taxpayers don't have to pay for his congressional retirement while he's in prison.

    November 13, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. Disillusioned

    Darn! How I wish the criminal justice system will pursue this matter beyond the conviction of Rep. Jefferson! Gosh, how I wish investigative reporting is still alive and vibrant!

    Remember the term "follow the money"? If you really want to know how global corruption is, just trace the source of Rep. Jefferson's ill-gotten money. I bet you the trace will topple some third world governments or at the very least expose them for the criminal juntas they are. Oh, I do know that some African political rulers were quaking baking and shaking in their shoes throughout Jefferson's trial.

    Trust me, there are always interconnects between every nefarious happenings at the US federal government level and corruption in most foreign governments served or assisted. One nugget for ya; investigate Halliburton's dealings in Nigeria and you will expose corruption the like of which will shame the former Governor of Louisiana.

    I mourn the death of investigative reporting.

    November 13, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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