Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to 30 months in prison for tax evasion, mail fraud, and making false statements. The former US representative admitted to misusing over $700,000 in campaign funds.
Jackson’s wife Sandi was sentenced to 12 months for her involvement. The couple was accused of using campaign money to fund lavish vacations, clothing, jewelry, and entertainment. As reported by CNN, Jackson apologized prior to the sentencing:
“I misled the American people.”
Jackson and his attorneys asked Judge Amy Berman to spare his wife. He explained that her behavior was merely “a subset” of what he had done. Jackson pointed out that their children, ages 9 and 13, would suffer if both their parents were in prison.
Despite their pleas, Judge Berman sentenced Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife to serve time in prison. The judge explained that the time would be served in Alabama.
Prosecutor Matthew Graves has little sympathy for the couple. He acknowledges Jackson’s reputation as a congressman, stating that “this is a sad day that involves a waste of talent.”
However, he is quick to point out that Jackson’s accomplishments do not excuse his crimes. He explains that “there’s just no need for this kind of conduct.”
Prosecutors were sympathetic about the couple’s children. They asked Judge Berman to sentence the parents to serve their sentences consecutively. That way one of them would be home while the other was incarcerated.
Judge Berman did not agree to the proposal. Jesse and Sandi will serve their sentences at the same time.
Jesse Jackson Jr. is the son of the Reverend Jesse Jackson. He followed in his father’s footsteps, fighting for civil rights.
As reported by Biography.com, Jackson earned a master’s degree in theology in1990 and a law degree in 1993.
Jackson won his first election in 1994. He took office in the US House of Representatives in 1995, representing the state of Illinois. He went on to serve four terms in Congress.
Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from his position in November 2012. He cited health concerns and the investigation into his use of campaign funds.