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.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:58 AM Does this Colorado Poll Show Latino Voters Bailing on the 2014 Election?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
The Vault
Sept. 18 2014 9:57 AM "The Sun Never Sets Upon the British Empire," Explained in GIF by an Old Children's Toy
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Sept. 18 2014 8:53 AM The Other Huxtable Effect Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?