Jackson Jr. denies involvement in Gov's 'pay-to-play' scheme
David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday December 10, 2008

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Lawyer acknowledges that Chicago pol was 'Senate Candidate 5' in Blagojevich complaint

A defiant Jesse Jackson Jr. denied any involvement in the pay-to-play scheme allegedly concocted to fill a vacant Illinois senate seat.

After reports emerged that Jackson Jr. was the "Senate Candidate 5" identified in the public corruption complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Chicago congressman convened a press conference to forcefully denounce the scheme and deny involvement.

"I thought, mistakenly, that the process was fair," Jackson Jr. said.

On advice from his attorneys, Jackson Jr. refused to take any questions following his brief statement.

He called for Blagojevich to resign and said he would fully cooperate with investigators. Blagojevich is accused of attempting to sell the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Jackson Jr. acknowledged meeting with Blagojevich on Monday -- less than 24 hours before the governor's arrest -- but he emphasized that it was the first meeting between the two men in more than four years.

"I thought mistakenly, I had a chance and I was being considered because I had earned it," Jackson Jr. said.

Much of Jackson Jr.'s 10-minute statement played more like a political address than a disquisition on his position on the periphery of a public corruption investigation.

He thanked the "thousands and thousands" of supporters who had bolstered his attempt to rise to the Senate and said he was still interested in the position.

ABC News first reported that Jackson Jr. was Candidate 5, and Jackson Jr.'s lawyer confirmed the report later in the day.

According to the FBI affidavit, candidate 5 was a key piece of Blagojevich's attempt to enrich himself in exchange for the appointment. On Dec. 4, the governor told an aide of the possibility that he might "get some (money) up front, maybe" from Senate Candidate 5 to hold him to a promise of raising money for Blagojevich's re-election campaign.

Jackson Jr. told ABC "it's impossible" that anyone would have made such an offer on his behalf.

This video is from CNN.com, broadcast Dec. 10, 2008.

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Lawyer: Jackson is Senate candidate 5

This video is from MSNBC's News Live, broadcast Dec. 10, 2008.

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This video is from ABCNew.com, broadcast Dec. 10, 2008.

Download video via RawReplay.com