- The Washington Times - Monday, June 4, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) — An indictment charging Rep. William Jefferson, Louisiana Democrat, in a long-running bribery investigation is being announced today, federal officials said.

The indictment is being handed up in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. A press conference was being organized for later today in Washington to discuss the case.

A Justice Department official familiar with the case said the indictment outlining the evidence against Mr. Jefferson is more than an inch thick and charges the congressman with crimes that could keep him in prison for up to 200 years. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

Almost two years ago, in August 2005, investigators raided Mr. Jefferson’s home in Louisiana and found $90,000 in cash stuffed into a box in his freezer.

Mr. Jefferson, 63, whose Louisiana district includes New Orleans, has said little about the case publicly but has maintained his innocence. He was re-elected last year despite the looming investigation.

Mr. Jefferson, in Louisiana today, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Two of Mr. Jefferson’s associates have already struck plea bargains with prosecutors and have been sentenced.

Brett Pfeffer, a former congressional aide, admitted soliciting bribes on Mr. Jefferson’s behalf and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Another Jefferson associate, Louisville, Ky., telecommunications executive Vernon Jackson, pleaded guilty to paying between $400,000 and $1 million in bribes to Mr. Jefferson in exchange for his assistance securing business deals in Nigeria and other African nations. Jackson was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Both Pfeffer and Jackson agreed to cooperate in the case against Mr. Jefferson in exchanges for their pleas.

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