Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr, holding back tears, entered a guilty plea yesterday in federal court to criminal charges that he engaged in a scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. He faces 46 to 57 months in prison under a plea deal with prosecutors.
Before entering the plea to the conspiracy charge, Jackson told United States District Judge Robert L. Wilkins, "I've never been more clear in my life" in his decision to plead guilty.
Later, when Wilkins asked if Jackson committed the acts outlined in court papers, the former congressman replied, "I did these things." He added later, "Sir, for years I lived in my campaign and used money from the campaign for personal use."
Jackson dabbed his face with tissues, and at one point, a court employee brought some tissues to Jackson's lawyer, who gave them to the ex-congressman.
Jackson told the judge he was waiving his right to trial.
"In perfect candour, Your Honour, I have no interest in wasting the taxpayers' time or money," he said.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 28, and Wilkins is not bound by the plea agreement. Jackson is free until then.
Full Caption: In this October 16, 2011 file photo, Representative Jesse Jackson Jr, a Democrat from Illinois, attends the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in Washington. For all the talk of Jesse Jackson Jr aspiring to be a United States senator or mayor of the nation's third-largest city, his career wasn't ended by attempts to amass political power. Instead, it was the former congressman's desire for flashy items like a gold-plated Rolex watch and furs, and collectibles such as Eddie Van Halen's guitar. - AP