Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. could serve more than three years in prison on felony charges of conspiracy, making false statements and committing mail and wire fraud.
Federal authorities filed a criminal information Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. His wife, Sandi Jackson, has been charged with one count of filing false joint tax returns.
"I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made," Jackson said in a statement. "To that end I want to offer my sincerest apologies to my family, my friends and all of my supporters for my errors in judgment and while my journey is not yet complete, it is my hope that I am remembered for the things that I did right."
Politico reported earlier today that Jackson is expected to plead guilty to conspiring with his wife, a former Chicago alderman, "to illegally spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses, including a $43,000 Rolex watch, fur coats and memorabilia associated with Michael Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Bruce Lee." His wife also will plead guilty to the tax offense.
A source close to the case told the publication that prosecutors will recommend between 46 and 57 months, a fine of $10,000 to $100,000 and forfeiture of a portion of the $750,000.
According to Politico, the Jacksons spent the misused campaign funds on a broad range of things, including basics like groceries, as well as luxuries. But federal authorities were zealous in their investigation of the couple, going so far as to conduct a sting operation in which an undercover employee bought mounted elk heads that Jackson had originally paid for using campaign funds.
"This just stunned the Rev. Jackson,” a source told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He doesn’t know what to do. This hit the family like a thunderbolt."
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(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)