Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) is entering a guilty plea to charges that he illegally spent campaign money. According to NBC News, a source close to the case said that Jackson has signed papers in a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
In the papers, Jackson, son of fiery civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson, admits to spending campaign money on travel expenses, furniture for his D.C. home and a $40,000 Rolex watch. Jackson’s sentencing will be handled by a federal judge and could range from probation to time in prison.
Jackson resigned from his congressional seat in November 2012, citing health and personal reasons. His attendance in Congress had been erratic through 2012, and it eventually came to light that he had sought treatment for substance abuse and bipolar disorder.
In his resignation to Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Jackson wrote, “During this journey, I have made my share of mistakes. I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities, and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone. None of us is immune from our share of shortcomings or human frailties and I pray that I will be remembered for what I did right.”
NBC Chicago reported that Jackson’s wife, former Chicago City Alderman Sandi Jackson is also now under investigation. She reportedly drew a $5,000 per month salary to act as her husband’s political consultant for much of his political career.
Jackson’s resignation came 15 days after he handily won re-election in his Chicago district. He has served 8 terms in office there since winning a special election for the seat in 1995.