- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2013

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was officially charged Friday with illegally spending $750,000 in campaign funds for personal use, while his wife was charged with filing false income tax forms.

He could now face up to 57 months in prison as part of a plea deal.

“Over the course of my life I have come to realize that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties,” Mr. Jackson said in the statement released by his attorneys after the federal probe was announced.

The charges against Mr. Jackson include wire and mail fraud, making false statements and conspiracy. His wife, Sandra, was charged with one count of filing false joint federal income tax returns for the years 2006 through 2011. Both agreed to plead guilty in plea deals with federal prosecutors.

News reports have circulated for months that the Chicago Democrat has been under federation investigation over his role in discussions about raising money for then-Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s campaign in exchange for Blagojevich appointing him to President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat in late 2008.

The former governor in 2011 was sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges connected with the awarding of the Obama seat.

Once considered one of the Democratic party’s rising stars, Mr. Jackson resigned from the House in November shortly after winning a tenth term to office. He cited failing health as the reason but acknowledged he was cooperating with a federal investigation “into my activities.”

He took a leave of absence from the House last June, citing exhaustion and never returned. Later it was revealed he was receiving treatment for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Despite not campaigning for re-election, he defeated his Republican challenger by 40 percentage points.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.