The scandal surrounding disgraced U.S. congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his troubled wife Sandi Jackson has reached a phase of finality.
Both Jackson and his wife pleaded guilty today to felony charges, which federal prosecutors claimed were part of an elaborate conspiracy to siphon approximately $750,000 in federal campaign funds. U.S. attorneys also claimed that the money went toward many extravagant purchases, including personal luxuries and valuable celebrity memorabilia.
The first spouse to attend a hearing today was Jesse Jackson Jr. In his 55-minute court appearance this morning, the 47-year-old Jackson wiped away tears as he entered his guilty plea to one felony count of conspiracy to commit false statements, wire fraud and mail fraud.
“For years I lived off my campaign,” Jackson said. “I used money I shouldn’t have used for personal purposes,” he continued. Jackson’s next court date is a June 28th sentencing hearing. He faces a sentence of three to five years in federal prison.
Sandi Jackson’s time to face the music came earlier this afternoon. Mrs. Jackson (who is a former Chicago alderman) walked into court holding hands with her husband to enter her expected guilty plea.
In the same courtroom her husband appeared in earlier, the 49-year-old Jackson choked back tears and spoke in a soft, broken voice as she was questioned by the judge. The fallen political wife pleaded guilty to a felony charge of willingly filing a false tax return.
Jackson’s next court date is a July 1st sentencing hearing, which is a few days after her husband is scheduled to be sentenced. She faces a two to three year sentence in federal prison.
A federal prosecutor who spoke with the media this afternoon called the couple’s actions “shameful” and said that they betrayed the trust of the hard-working people who supported Jesse Jackson Jr.’s congressional campaign. The couple also has two young children aged 9 and 12.