Jesse Jackson Jr. was charged for allegedly misusing campaign funds, violating federal laws.
The former US Representative from Illinois was charged by federal investigators for misusing $750,000 in campaign funds. Jackson Jr., a Democrat, was charged in a criminal information.
The Chicago Tribune notes that Jackson will face up to five years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, and other penalties for the charges. They include one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and false statements.
Jackson Jr.’s wife, Sandi Jackson, was also charged in an information with one count of filing false tax returns. She can face up to three years in prison and $100,000 in penalties.
Federal authorities have claimed that Jesse Jackson Jr. spent campaign funds on a $43,350 men’s gold-placed Rolex watch, $5,150 in fur capes and parkas, and $9,588 in children’s furniture. Other expenses included memorabilia from Bruce Lee, Martin Luther King, and Michael Jackson.
USA Today notes that Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress in November after receiving treatment for bipolar disorder at the May Clinic in Minnesota for several months. He was on medical leave from Congress since June.
It has been reported that Sandi Jackson has already signed a plea deal with authorities. Her husband and his attorneys are reportedly in negotiations with the US Department of Justice for a plea deal as well.
While he cited health reasons when he resigned, Jesse Jackson Jr. also acknowledged the federal investigation for allegedly misusing campaign funds. He wrote in his resignation letter that he was “doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators and accept responsibility for my mistakes.”
Along with the probe for misusing campaign funds, Jesse Jackson Jr. is also the subject of a long-running investigation by the House Ethics Committee. The former representative allegedly offered to help former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich raise money in exchange for the US Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.