Jesse Jackson Jr., wife will plead guilty

Jesse Jackson Jr. said he offered “no excuses for my conduct.”
Getty Images/File 2008
Jesse Jackson Jr. said he offered “no excuses for my conduct.”

WASHINGTON — In a spectacular fall from political prominence, former US Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife agreed Friday to plead guilty to federal charges growing out of what prosecutors said was a scheme to use $750,000 in campaign funds for lavish personal expenses, including a $43,000 gold watch and furs.

Federal prosecutors filed one charge of conspiracy against the former Chicago congressman and charged his wife, Sandra, a former alderman, with one count of filing false joint federal income tax returns for the years 2006 through 2011 that knowingly understated the couple’s income.

The son of a famed civil rights leader, Jackson, a Democrat, entered Congress in 1995 and resigned last November. Sandi, as his wife is known, was a Chicago alderman, but resigned last month amid the federal investigation.


Several messages left with Jackson’s father, the voluble civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, were not returned Friday.

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Jackson used campaign money to buy such things as a $43,350 gold-plated men’s Rolex watch and $9,587.64 worth of children’s furniture, according to court papers filed in the case.

His wife spent $5,150 on fur capes and parkas, the document said.

‘‘I offer no excuses for my conduct, and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made,’’ the former congressman said in a written statement released by his lawyers.

The prosecutors’ court filing said that upon conviction, Jackson must forfeit $750,000, plus tens of thousands of dollars worth of memorabilia items and furs.


Published reports said Jackson could face 46 to 57 months in prison under sentencing guidelines, but there was no immediate confirmation of what, if any, sentence he and prosecutors had agreed to recommend.