Jesse Jackson Jr. Wants to Serve Prison Sentence Before Wife

The former congressman also worries he won't get the mental health care he needs while behind bars.

Posted: 06/18/2013 11:39 AM EDT

In documents filed Monday by lawyers representing Jesse Jackson Jr., the disgraced former congressman said that if both he and wife Sandi Jackson both must serve time, he'd like to go first. Federal prosecutors have recommended that his wife serve an 18-month term, followed by a four-year term for Jackson, so their children wouldn't have both parents in prison at the same time.

The couple entered plea deals earlier this year on charges related to the misuse of campaign funds and underreporting income on their tax returns. They are scheduled to be sentenced on July 3.

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, Jackson is also worried about his ability to comply with the prosecutors' recommendation that he repay the $750,000 looted from his campaign, plus an additional $750,000. The couple, they said, is operating on a "negative monthly cash flow."

Jackson's lawyers also cited his history of public service as a reason for leniency, but prosecutors aren't feeling very sympathetic.

"The case law is clear that one should not get credit at sentencing merely for doing one's job as a public servant," they said of Jackson and his wife, who is a former Chicago alderman.

The lawyers also expressed concern that Jackson won't receive adequate treatment for his bipolar disorder and will have difficulty establishing "a trusting relationship with a Bureau of Prisons psychiatrist quickly enough to maintain his progress toward improved mental health." The Tribune reports that two psychiatrists who've treated Jackson submitted letters on his behalf.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

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