Is Jesse Jackson Jr. Heading To Prison?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 16 2013 3:07 PM

Is Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Heading To Prison?

Prosecutors will reportedly recommend a sentence of between 46 and 57 months

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife will be pleading guilty to charges that they conspired to spend $750,000 of campaign money on personal expenses—including a $43,000 Rolex watch. The couple’s lawyers have confirmed the news to several media outlets. It isn’t clear how long either Jackson or his wife could face behind bars but it seems highly likely that the former lawmaker could spend several years in prison.

Jackson faces up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000 for a number of charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and making false statements, according to the Chicago Tribune. Sandi Jackson, his wife, was charged with one count of filing false tax returns and could face up to three years in prison. A former federal prosecutor tells the Associated Press that considering just how brazen the misappropriation of funds appears to have been, it seems unlikely Jackson will face less than three-and-a-half years behind bars. His wife, on the other hand, likely wouldn’t face more than a few months in prison.


The charges against Jackson “represent a breathtaking scheme to re-appropriate donors’ money,” notes Politico. It’s not just that the money was used for frivolous luxuries, but also basic necessities, such as cleaning supplies, underwear, and toilet paper. But, yes, there were luxuries as well. And some of it truly mind boggling, such as Bruce Lee memorabilia bought between August 2007 and August 2008 for a whopping $10,105. There was also a football signed by U.S. presidents worth $5,000 and $22,700 worth of Michael Jackson memorabilia.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.