- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Budget deal to get quick vote in the House
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro ‘marriage’
- Sebelius calls for review of Obamacare rollout woes
- American dream dying, but many see free market as solution: Poll
- Air Force base in South Carolina boots Nativity scene
Jefferson given 13 years for corruption
Former Louisiana congressman William Jefferson stood motionless in U.S. District Court in Alexandria Friday as he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for corruption - the longest prison term ever imposed on a former member of Congress.
The nine-term Democrat from New Orleans - found with $90,000 stuffed in his freezer - lost his re-election bid last year while under indictment - a result that U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis found satisfying.
“Public corruption is a cancer on the body politic,” the judge said after an afternoon of delays and long recesses had turned to blustery evening. “It eats away and destroys the function of that body. It needs to be surgically removed.
“There must be some sort of greed virus that infects those in power,” he said, referring to other congressmen convicted of corruption, including former Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham, California Republican, who was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2006 for taking bribes, as well as for tax evasion. “All of these cases are sad.”
The sentence was sharply lower than the 27 to 33 years federal prosecutors had sought. Jefferson’s attorneys had sought less than 10 years.
Jefferson, in a slightly rumpled black suit, his shoulders stooped, did not speak on his own behalf prior to sentencing. His attorney, Robert Trout, said his client plans to appeal, thus would not make any statement. Jefferson has 10 days to file that appeal.
The judge ordered him to report to prison within 60 days.
Jefferson, 62, was convicted in August on bribery, money laundering and racketeering charges. Prosecutors said he took in $478,000 in bribes and sought millions more. One of 10 children from an underprivileged background, Jefferson is a Harvard Law School graduate.
Mr. Trout tried to mitigate his client’s actions, saying “This is not a $500 million bribery scheme.”
“You’re not asking me to believe that he didn’t expect to get more … out of this?” Judge Ellis interjected.
Jefferson was convicted of taking cash and gifts in exchange for helping American business people gain access to West African countries, where Jefferson had ties, for ventures in oil, sugar refining and telecommunications.
The $90,000 in his freezer was given to him by an FBI informant on the understanding it would be used to bribe the vice president of Nigeria, Akita Abubakar. The jury acquitted Jefferson on that count, even though Judge Ellis instructed them that the money did not need to be given to Mr. Abubakar to constitute evidence of conspiracy to bribe.
If he had been convicted on that count, Jefferson would have been the first U.S. lawmaker found to have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Mr. Trout also argued that corrupt activities overseas should incur a different penalty than those that take place in the United States. “We are simply arguing for a more balanced view of what happened here,” he said.
Again, Judge Ellis was not persuaded.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Teen thugs in DC run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- New budget accord saves $23 billion -- after $65 billion spending spree
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- More than a quarter million sign up for Obamacare in November
- Gov't Motors: Obama fudges math on auto bailout, $10.5 billion loss for taxpayers
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
An objective, analysis-based perspective of D.C. sports as seen through the eyes of lifelong D.C. sports enthusiast, John Heibel.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Human interest stories to feed interest, satisfy curiosity and see outside the box.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow