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Jefferson bribery investigation heats up as aides subpoenaed

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Published: Monday April 3, 2006

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A Justice Department investigation into alleged bribes solicited and received by Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) is heating up, according to today's Roll Call.

Last week, six of the Congressman's Louisiana staff informed the House that they had been subpoenaed by a grand jury.

Excerpts from the Roll Call story follow:

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In January, former Jefferson aide Brett Pfeffer pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and aiding and abetting the solicitation of bribes by a Member of Congress, widely believed to be Jefferson. Last year, FBI agents searched the lawmaker’s homes in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans, where they reportedly found a large amount of cash hidden in the freezer.

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According to court documents filed in Pfeffer’s case, Jefferson — “Representative A” in the former aide’s plea agreement — allegedly asked Pfeffer for an ownership stake of 5 percent to 7 percent in a telecommunications firm that Pfeffer was helping to form in Nigeria and asked that one of his family members be put on the payroll of the Nigerian firm.

Pfeffer also told prosecutors that he believed Jefferson wanted a similar arrangement for a startup telecommunications company in Ghana, with the ownership stakes going to members of the Congressman’s family.

In return, Jefferson allegedly agreed to lobby Nigerian and Ghanaian officials to promote deals between the two telecom companies and the respective African governments.

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Read the entire registration-restricted story here.