Source: Jackson Jr. plea deal to involve ‘significant jail time’
By Michael sneed Sun-Times Media February 6, 2013 11:49PM
FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2011 file photo, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., is seen during the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington. A spokesman at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota said Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, Jackson has left the clinic, where he was being treated for bipolar disorder for the second time since taking a leave of absence in June. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Updated: March 8, 2013 7:52AM
A potential plea bargaining agreement between former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and federal authorities regarding his alleged misuse of campaign funds includes Jackson serving time in federal prison, according to a source close to the investigation.
“I think (Jackson’s wife) Sandi feels like she was thrown under the bus by her husband” now that a separate inquiry has begun into her conduct, a second source said.
Sandi Jackson, who recently resigned as Chicago’s 7th Ward alderman, has said she was stunned by campaign finance abuse disclosures against her husband, who resigned Nov. 21 after months of treatment for mental disorders and allegedly spent campaign cash on personal expenses, including $40,000 on a Rolex watch.
The indication that the plea deal would mean a prison term for the former congressman follows an exclusive report Tuesday in the Chicago Sun-Times — revealing that the feds’ financial probe of the once-powerful Jackson couple has evolved into two separate investigations, with federal authorities now taking an independent look at Sandi Jackson.
Though Sandi was encouraged to become an alderman by her husband, the two passed like ships in the night, shuttling between their homes in Washington, D.C., and Chicago to be with their two children.
The federal scrutiny of Sandi Jackson includes access to and use of her husband’s congressional campaign money, including credit card charges, as well as the movement of money from one account to another, sources said.
In his resignation letter, Jackson Jr. acknowledged that he was the subject of a federal investigation and indicated that his attorneys were working with federal authorities on it.
Federal sources cautioned, however, that authorities were still weighing whether charges are warranted in Sandi Jackson’s case.
“They are trying to sort it out right now and trying to figure out exactly what to do with her,” said one source close to the former alderman, adding that Sandi Jackson was advised to get a lawyer at least four months ago.
For years, she was paid nearly $5,000 a month from her husband’s campaign fund through her consulting firm, J. Donatella & Associates. The payments continued, even after Jackson Jr. checked into a mental health facility in mid-June, spent months in and out of treatment and, except for a robocall, did not campaign for the Nov. 6 election, which he won.
Sandi Jackson did not respond Wednesday to calls for comment.