November 13th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
11 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. 30 Year Veteran

    This is typicaol of the Democrat's corruption. It will only get worse as the further Obama get's into his administration. Finally however, he will come to his time of dishoner.

    November 13, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    No leniency – show the politician what the others can expect WHEN they are caught.

    November 13, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. chubby

    Get him in jail and after the 2012 elections maybe we can investigate dodd,rangel and barney frank for ethics violations and put them in jail. It is for sure the demorat congress is not going to investigate any ethical charges against demorats but would rather investigate those of the opposite party for nothing.

    November 13, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. marcus (seattle)

    as a hard-core, life-long liberal, i want it to be very clear that corrupt democratic politicians should get the same sentences corrupt republicans should get... and, i have no respect for people on either side of the aisle who are willing to excuse the actions of those from their party..

    November 13, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Former Army

    Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat – say it ain't so, a democrat?

    November 13, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. zap01

    Is that treason?

    November 13, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. New Yorker

    Sniffit and Hongli – How about reading the article before you make your ignorant comments.

    November 13, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. mark

    typical democrat...

    November 13, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    He deserves the maximum jail time for cheating his constituents.

    November 13, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. TCM

    What about Rangel? Dodd? Pelosi, Reid and Obama? They're all the reason the economy's tanked....with the mortgage fiasco...let's give them a cell too

    November 13, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. Billy J..Texas..

    you do the crime, you do the time

    I wish more of these guys from both sides would go to jail personally.

    I would love to see this guy and Delay sharing a cell together. Now THAT would be bi-partisanship!

    November 13, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Billy J..Texas..

    Term Limits. Mandatory Term Limits. The only legitimate idea I have seen recently from the Repubs, but I like that one a LOT. The Dems should get on board and do it!!!! But both sides would balk at the last second... garaunteed.

    November 13, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    And lots of people voted for this guy even after he was caught blue handed.

    If we're not going to impose term limits upon the crooks in D.C., we should at least make people pass an I.Q. test before they can vote.

    November 13, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. mjm

    victim of republican greed November 13th, 2009 1:14 pm ET

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

    Apparently, you're a victim of living under power lines as a child, eating paint chips and chewing on lead pencils. I don't think republicans had anything to do with it.

    November 13, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Sea.gem

    "victim of republican greed" are the sterotypical leftist...a "victim"...get off your mom's couch and fend for yourself, only a fool plays victim...wanna another handout?

    November 13, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Robin

    victim of republican greed November 13th, 2009 1:14 pm ET

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

    He was a democrat.

    November 13, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. mjm

    And you want these guys to run health care?

    November 13, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Vietnam Combat Veteran, Ohio

    Put him in prison, that way when we convict all the crooked republicans, they can't whine about being picked on.

    November 13, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. jj123

    Term limits are necessary. Combined total of 20 years of service (representative or senator) and only then do you get retirement.

    November 13, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. jj123

    hongli November 13th, 2009 3:05 pm ET

    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.
    I suppose if you actually read the article or know anything about this story you would realize that he is a Democrat.

    November 13, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. Republican'ts are so YESTERDAY


    jerry November 13th, 2009 2:35 pm ET
    He's black. If that doesn't explain it for you, nothing will

    Jerry: Are you trying to say that all blacks are corrupt? Or are you trying to say that all black politicians are corrupt?? Does it give you a warm feeling inside when you post racist comments like this???

    November 13, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. Bluebonnet

    Another black democratic crook. How many are under investigation as we speak?

    November 13, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. jj123

    victim of republican greed November 13th, 2009 1:14 pm ET

    One down, and the entire republican culture of corruption to go.
    I guess I will say it again...I suppose if you actually read the article or know anything about this story you would realize that he is a Democrat.

    November 13, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. gpm

    We have 50 states: 48 are normal; the Moromons own Utah; and anyone can rent Louisiana.

    Give Bill Jefferson the same amount of jail time that "war hero" Duke Cunningham got .for stealing much more than Jefferson did.

    However, only in Louisiana do you find every week that some public offical is: under investigation, charged, convicted, and sent to jail.

    Sen. David Vitter (R) buys sex from a prostitute, but is the "family values" icon of the Louisiana Republican party.

    November 13, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. Steve

    Hey libs... this guy was a Dem.

    November 13, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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