Prosecutors urge throwing the book at convicted ex-lawmaker
A U.S. judge on Friday will sentence former Congressman William “Cold Cash” Jefferson after he was convicted on multiple bribery and money laundering charges. And prosecutors want to throw the book at him.
The former Louisiana lawmaker faces between 27 and 33 years in prison according to federal sentencing guidelines and prosecutors said that sounds good to them. Authorities discovered $90,000 in Jefferson’s freezer during their investigation.
“As the defendant stands convicted of some of the most serious corrupt schemes uncovered in recent history, he is without remorse and has yet to accept responsibility for his actions,” according to a memorandum filed with the court late Friday.
“A severe sentence would send the message to the public that such egregious and criminal behavior will not be tolerated in our society,” the prosecutors counseled. They also asked that Jefferson, 62, immediately go to prison for fear he would flee the country before his appeals are exhausted.
The ex-congressman was convicted in August on 11 of 16 counts of bribery, racketeering and money laundering. He was accused in 2007 of soliciting millions of dollars in bribes from companies while using his office to broker business deals in Africa.
Jefferson lost re-election last year to Republican Anh “Joseph” Cao — yes, the lone Republican who voted for the Democrats’ health care reform bill that passed the House of Representatives late Saturday. (The district is heavily Democratic and includes most of New Orleans.)
Jefferson acknowledged when he was first charged that he had made mistakes in judgment that he regretted, but denied selling his office or trading official acts for money.
- Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Jefferson after his arraignment in federal court in 2007)