*In addition to denying claims that he tried to buy Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat from former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Jesse Jackson Jr. is also apologizing today for allegations that he’s been having an extra-marital affair.
The alleged woman, Giovanna Huidobro, is described by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed as a “blond bombshell” who works as a restaurant hostess in Washington, D.C.
As reported earlier, Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak, who had done campaign fundraising for both Blagojevich and Jackson, said that Jackson twice directed him to pay airfare for the woman Jackson described as a “social acquaintance.”
“The reference to a social acquaintance is a private and personal matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago. I ask that you respect our privacy,” Jackson said in a statement. “I know I have disappointed some supporters, and for that I am deeply sorry. But I remain committed to serving my constituents and fighting on their behalf.”
Jackson’s wife, Chicago 7th Ward Alderman Sandi Jackson, also released a statement saying the “social acquaintance” situation has already been dealt with in their marriage: “Today’s public disclosure is not new and is one that my family and I have been privately addressing for two years. Therefore, I would hope that the public and the media will respect our family’s right to continue to handle this matter privately.”
As previously reported, Nayak said that in 2008 Jackson directed him to tell Blagojevich that he would donate a combined $6 million in political contributions if appointed Obama’s Senate seat.
Jackson calls these allegations “preposterous,” according to a statement obtained by CBS News, and noted that the assertions were not new. “I’ve already talked with the authorities about these claims, told them they were false, and no charges have been brought against me,” Jackson said in the statement.
“The very idea of raising millions of dollars for a campaign other than my own is preposterous. My interest in the Senate seat was based on years of public service, which I am proud of, not some improper scheme with anyone,” Jackson said.
Both Jesse and Sandi Jackson are thought to be considering a bid in the Chicago mayoral race, although Sandi recently downplayed the possibility of her own entrance.