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Opinion : Mr. and Mrs. Guilty Jackson

This piece was written by C. Dwayne West and appeared in (click to subscribe.)

This hurt me to write. This really hurt me to even create the copy title above. I was extremely sad when the news program I was watching broke in with an exclusive news item. Then after seeing the civil rights leaders’ first son walk out of the court room in the nation’s capital, it sadden me even more. But the final nail in my coffin, was when this dude from the government read the charges and outlined the alleged scheme, it floored me.

This mess is absolutely amazing and shocking! I always said that the rise of President Barack Obama somehow destroyed the dreams of Jesse Jackson, Jr as the Negro golden child who could lead this nation. And I’ve stated many times in past Works of Words, that former Congressman Jackson was normally always the smartest person in the room wherever he appeared and he once had a remarkable upside with unlimited potential. I admired his intellect and knowledge of politics.

Yesterday, former U.S. Rep. Jackson and his wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, pleaded guilty in what prosecutors said was a conspiracy to siphon about $750,000 in federal campaign funds for their personal use. Jackson Jr. entered a negotiated plea of guilty on one felony count of conspiracy to commit false statements, mail and wire fraud.

Prosecutors say the couple enjoyed a life of luxury with campaign cash. About 3,100 personal purchases were made on campaign credit cards, totaling $582,772.58, prosecutors said. Pressed by the judge on whether he was freely entering the plea, the former congressman acknowledged he had been under psychiatric care but said he had not been treated for addiction to alcohol or narcotics. Asked whether he understood what was happening, he answered, “Sir, I’ve never been more clear in my life.”

Sandi pleaded guilty to one charge of willingly filing a false tax return, tied to the same allegations. Both Jacksons appearing in dark suits, and had the opportunity to make personal statements. But only Jesse replied with a brief reply. Sandi chose to just answer the judge’s questions with “Yes, sirs” and “Guilty.” Jackson Jr. spoke softly during his hearing and momentarily dried his eyes. When asked by Judge Wilkins how he would plead, Jackson answered: “I am guilty your honor.”

Jackson Jr. was present for his wife’s hearing proceedings as well. They left the courtroom holding hands. When leaving the courtroom, Jackson Jr. told a reporter, “Tell everybody back home I’m sorry I let ’em down, OK?” At a press conference following the hearing, Jackson Jr. attorney Reid Weingarten said Jackson’s health problems contributed to his crimes.

As part of Jackson Jr.’s plea deal, the parties have agreed that sentencing guidelines call for a term of between 46 and 57 months in prison. He will be sentenced June 28. And after his release from an expected prison term, he might face additional years of supervised probation. Sandi Jackson’s sentencing is scheduled for July 1. She could face a possible prison term of 18 to 24 months and $4,000 to $40,000 in fines.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., and other family members walked through the courthouse, arms linked together showing solidarity. Married for more than 20 years, Jesse and Sandi have a 12-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son and this could have an adverse affect on them for years to come.

This piece was written by C. Dwayne West and appeared in (click to subscribe.)

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