Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) could spend nearly five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges including wire fraud, mail fraud and lying to investigators of using $750,000 in campaign funds for personal gain.
WMAQ-TV reported on Wednesday that Jackson accepted and filed a plea bargain agreement last week that makes him eligible for a jail term ranging between 46 and 57 months and a fine between $10,000 and $100,000.
Judge Robert Wilkins said that, while he can not issue a prison sentence beyond five years for Jackson, "The sentencing guidelines are advisory, and they are something I am bound to consider."
Jackson's wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, is expected to plead guilty Wednesday afternoon to charges of filing false tax returns reporting less income than she had actually made. Her attorney, Tom Kirsch, said her plea agreement means she will serve some jail time, but much less than the usual three-year sentence associated with the offense.
The former lawmaker, who resigned in November 2012 following an extended leave of absence to deal with depression and substance abuse issues, did not comment on the charges against him on Wednesday, but issued a statement on Feb. 15 apologizing for what he called his "errors in judgement."
"Over the course of my life I have come to realize that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties," he said. "Still I offer no excuses for my conduct, and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made."
Watch video of Jackson entering the courthouse on Wednesday, published by WMAQ, below.
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