Jackson Jr. plea deal includes time in federal prison: Sun-Times - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Jackson Jr. plea deal includes time in federal prison: Sun-Times

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr, could be looking at a substantial time in federal prison. That's the deal reportedly on the table right now, according to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed.

FOX 32 Political Editor Mike Flannery reported Monday night a plea deal would happen within days or weeks rather than months, as predicted last fall by other sources. It seems things are moving quicker for Jackson than sources previously thought.

When Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress in November of last year, he indicated he was cooperating with the feds. It's really no surprise to hear that a plea deal is on the table, or that jail time is likely.

The Sun-Times' Sneed reports that part of the deal includes a requirement that the former congressman serve "significant" jail time as part of any plea. But what would that mean?

FOX 32's Larry Yellen explained that "significant" jail time is a relative term. Former Illinois governor George Ryan served six and a half years in prison for corruption, and fellow former governor Rod Blagojevich – also convicted for corruption – will spend over a decade in jail for his crimes.

Jail time of that length is not likely, according to a former federal prosecutor FOX 32 spoke with Thursday morning.

Jackson is being investigated for his alleged misuse of campaign funds to buy a $40,000 watch for a lady friend or do some home remodeling. The probe became public in October of last year.

These are relatively minor crimes, even if the money might have exceeded $100,000, for example.

"A year is a long time, a year and a half is a long time for this kind of crime," Ron Safer said. "Keep in mind, there is no crime for misuse of campaign funds. It's a mail fraud crime or a wire fraud crime. For that when people have $100,000 worth of mail fraud, typically the sentence would be a year or less."

Safer also said he believes any plea bargain would also involve Sandi Jackson, who as FOX 32 reported on Monday, is the target of a separate federal investigation.

Safer said he would expect Jackson Jr.'s attorneys would probably ask that any plea deal for him would wrap up the entire case - ending any investigation of former 7th ward Ald. Sandi Jackson.

She stepped down from Chicago City Council in January.

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