*It’s now official. Jesse Jackson Jr. is on his way to prison.
Wednesday morning in Washington, Jackson was sentenced to 30 months behind bars using $750,000 in campaign money for living expenses, clothes and luxury items.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson scolded the convicted congressman, saying that he and his wife, Sandi Jackson, used campaign funds as a “personal piggy bank.”
“There may be gray areas in campaign finance This case did not come near to those areas,” the judge added.
“As a public official, you are supposed to live up to a higher standard of ethics and integrity,” said Judge Jackson, no relation to the former congressman.
The sentence was handed down during a hearing where Jackson tearfully admitted wrongdoing.
“I take responsibility for my actions and for everything I have done,” Jackson said, sobbing openly in court as his family looked on.
Jackson’s crime and likely punishment mark a dramatic fall for a man once viewed as a fast-rising political star in his home state. Jackson, 48, is the son of civil rights leader and former presidential candidate, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. The senior Jackson and other members of the family were in the courtroom.
The sentence was less than the four-year sentence sought by prosecutors Jackson who pleaded guilty in February to misusing campaign funds.
As we reported earlier, Jackson’s lawyer asked that Jackson to be assigned to a minimum-security federal prison camp on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., or Butner-Low, a low-security facility near Raleigh, N.C.
The judge can recommend a prison placement, but the Bureau of Prisons makes the final decision.
Jackson, stopping to wipe his tears and blow his nose, asked the judge to be sent to the federal prison camp in Alabama to “make it inconvenient for everyone to get to me.”
Unfortunately for Jackson, even after the sentencing is over, the case will not be over. He’ll still have to forfeit $750,000. His attorney, Reid Weingarten, said Jackson is “breaking his head” to make that happen. “My client wants to be able to feed his children,” he said.
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