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Sentencing delayed for Jesse Jackson Jr., wife Sandi

Jesse JacksJr. Sandi JacksFebruary | AP

Jesse Jackson Jr., Sandi Jackson, in February | AP

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Updated: July 2, 2013 12:23PM



WASHINGTON — A federal judge has postponed the sentencings of Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife that were supposed to happen Wednesday.

An entry on the docket of the case, handled by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson (no relation), notes that she requested a delay to “accommodate the Court and will be rescheduled in a separate order. The Court notes that neither party has requested this postponement.”

No new date has yet been set for the sentencings, which were to happen at a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.

The 17-year disgraced congressman and his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson, were to be sentenced after pleading guilty in February to looting Jesse Jackson Jr.’s campaign fund of $750,000. Prosecutors had recommended staggering the couple’s time in prison because the Jacksons have school-aged children.

The couple illegally used the money to buy personal luxuries — from a Rolex watch to fur coats and pricey vacations. A new sentencing date will be set later.

Lawyers for both Jacksons, in asking for leniency, argued in memos filed last month — supplemented with letters from constituents — that they were worthy of shorter sentences because of all the “good works” they did while in public office.

In particular, Jesse Jackson Jr. cited his work on civil rights, bringing safer drinking water and federal funds to his South and South suburban district, addressing minority health disparities and securing funds for war-torn nations.

Federal prosecutors, in their replies, said the Jacksons’ do not deserve extra credit for doing their jobs.

“It is an elected official’s job to perform good works on behalf of his constituents,” prosecutors said about Jesse Jackson Jr.

Making the same point for Sandi Jackson, they wrote she should not get less time “merely for doing her job as a public servant.”

Prosecutors asked the judge for four years for the former lawmaker and 18 months for Sandi Jackson. Her attorneys on June 7 asked for probation; his lawyers pleaded for an unspecified shorter sentence.

In their rebuttal to defense arguments, prosecutors tore into another argument advanced by attorneys for Jesse Jackson Jr.: that his bipolar disorder justifies a shorter sentence.

Lawyers for Jesse Jackson Jr. provided skimpy evidence to back their mental illness claims, the prosecutors said.

Two doctors provided a combined “three-and-a-half pages of letters” in the June 7 memo that were “surprisingly bereft of detail about why the relief is warranted,” the prosecutors wrote.

Earlier this year, prosecutors told the judge they may call their own witnesses to challenge any mental illness claims that the former lawmaker may make in asking for a reduced sentence. But that appears less likely given the sparse submission by Jackson’s doctors.

The Jacksons have two children, 9 and 13, who attend private school in Washington D.C.

In order not to leave the children without a parent, the prosecutors are suggesting to the judge that Sandi Jackson go to prison and serve her sentence first.

Contributing: Lynn Sweet



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