Embattled former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois has agreed to plead guilty and faces possible jail time as part of a deal with federal authorities investigating accusations he misused campaign money, Chicago news outlets reported Friday.
A federal judge will decide whether the Chicago Democrat, son of well-known civil rights leader Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, serves jail time, several Chicago television stations reported. ABC’s Chicago affiliate, WLS, said Mr. Jackson could face up to five years behind bars.
The U.S. Attorney's Office, which hasn’t acknowledged the existence of the investigation, had no comment.
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 this month by 40 percentage points.
Mr. Jackson, 47, was first elected to the House in a special election in 1995 and easily won every re-election. He was considered a rising star in the Democratic Party until the Blagojevich allegations surfaced.
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Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
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