That was one of the questions answered unsuccessfully Friday as Jeri Wright, daughter of President Barack Obama’s former minister the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was convicted by a federal jury Friday of laundering money from a $1.25 million state grant for a Chicago-based job-training program.
Jeri Wright was found guilty of 11 counts, including money laundering, lying to federal agents and lying to a grand jury, the Chicago Tribune reports. As she left the courtroom in Springfield, Wright vowed that she would “definitely” appeal the verdict in U.S. District Court. Rev. Wright was not part of the case against his daughter.
Described as a victim of her longtime friend Regina Evans, by Wright’s attorney, the defense argued that Evans secured a state loan for the job-training program but allegedly diverted the money instead of using it for what she proposed the loan for. Evans, the former Country Club Hills police chief, pleaded guilty to corruption in the case.
The prosecutor, Timothy Bass, stated that Wright brought in as much as $11,000 in cash from more than $30,000 in checks in a scheme that found her she sending money back to Evans. When questioned about the case, Bass maintained Wright lied “over and over” concluded his closing arguments with his view that Wright was “given an opportunity” and took it in a state that has a “well-earned” reputation for corruption.
Although the grant Evans applied for in 2009 involved 40 people getting trained in
bricklaying and electrician skills, the money was allegedly diverted. According to the Tribune, Bass added that Evans used the diverted funds for what he referred to as a “spending spree” that included a trip to Las Vegas, a basement remodeling and the purchase of vehicles for a security business with her husband.