According to the Chicago Tribune , former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois was formally charged in Washington on Friday with violating federal law by misusing campaign funds that were given to him. His wife, Sandi Jackson, who resigned from her seat as a Chicago alderwoman, has also been charged with one count of filing false tax returns. The crimes carry prison time and enormous fines. However, just as the charges were announced, attorneys representing the couple have indicated a plea deal for both.
Here are some facts and details about the charges facing the Jacksons and what it could mean in terms of penalties:
* Politico reported that Jesse Jackson Jr. will plead guilty to conspiring with his wife to illegal spend $750,000 in campaign contributions on lavish personal expenses.
* The charges brought forth today against him include making false statements, conspiracy, and wire and mail fraud.
* Although Jesse Jackson Jr. faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000, prosecutors will recommend 46 months to 57 months of prison time, a fine between $10,000 and $100,000, and a forfeiture of part of the illegally spent campaign funds.
* The Jacksons allegedly purchased $5,150 in fur coats, a $43,000 gold-plated Rolex watch, expensive children's furniture and home décor, and thousands in entertainment memorabilia from Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson, noted USA Today .
* Prosecutors also argue that Jesse Jackson Jr. made false statements to the U.S. House of Representatives when he did not report $28,500 in loans and gifts he had received.
* Citing mental health problems, Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress back in November amid a federal investigation.
* In a statement, he said, "I offer no excuses for my conduct, and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made."
* According to the Associated Press , Sandi Jackson's attorney, Tom Kirsch, has said that she has signed a plea deal with prosecutors to plea guilty to one count of filing false joint federal income tax returns for each year between 2006 and 2011.
* Sandi Jackson allegedly reported much less income for the couple and in doing so, the couple owes a large amount of taxes.
* Her crime carries a sentence of up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000, as well as other penalties.
* She released her own statement saying that she "has accepted responsibility for her conduct, is deeply sorry for her actions, and looks forward to putting this matter behind her and her family. She is thankful for the support of her family and friends during this very difficult time."
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.
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