UPDATE: Not only did fmr. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. get off easy with a light sentence for his corruption, but now at the very last minute, we have learned he is scheduled to receive $8,700 per month in government disability pay, as well as a partial federal pension of approximately $45,000. The Government watchdog group, Judicial Watch, released the report yesterday, which shows a $8,700 in disability for his brand new “mood disorder” that was only being used as a defense when the federal government was getting ready to indict him.
Jackson, who was sentenced to only 2.5 years in prison, had zero history of mental illness during his prior 17 years in Congress. Rev. Jesse Jackson has defended his son’s claims of mental illness, stating to the court, “This time a year ago I thought we may have lost him.” Oh, brother.
EARLIER: Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison Wednesday for illegally spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items, the judge scolding the son of the famed civil rights leader for using the money as a “piggy bank” and sentencing his wife to a year as well.
However, Jackson, who made an emotional apology to his father, mother, congressional colleagues and others, was given a significantly less prison sentence than federal guidelines actually recommend. The judge literally referred to Jesse Jackson Jr. as a “complex person” who has done both good and bad with his life, thus deserved special consideration.
After prison, the former congressman is supposed to spend three years on supervised release and must complete 500 hours of community service, although it is typical for wealthier convicts to buy off community service hours. If he earns credit for good behavior in prison, he could end up serving closer to two years. He agreed to repay the $750,000 when he pleaded guilty earlier this year.
Sandra Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, was also sentenced for filing false joint federal income tax returns.
According to the Chicago Tribune:
Both former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi, wept in court today as they addressed the judge who will sentence them for felonies involving about $750,000 in misspent campaign funds.
Jackson Jr. apologized for his crimes and expressed special regrets to his mother and father.
“Your honor, throughout this process I’ve asked the government and the court to hold me and only me accountable for my actions,” he said.
When Jackson Jr. spoke, his voice was firm except for the few times he wept openly and paused to dry his eyes with a tissue, blow his nose and collect himself.
Jackson, 48, had been a lifelong Democrat who served in Congress for Illinois from 1995 until he resigned last November. During his speech he choked up and used tissues to blow his nose. He apologized and said he wanted to “take responsibility for my actions.”
“I misled the American people. I misled the House of Representatives. I misled the Federal Election Commission,” he said. “I was wrong.”
“I also want to apologize to my dad and to my mother,” Jackson added, stopping to compose himself.
In court, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson recognized Jackson Jr.’s public service on issues such as public education and clean water. “That’s what makes this situation so tragic,” she said.
But the judge said that if she gave him no jail time it would send a message that there are two systems: one for the well-connected and one for everyone else.
“I cannot do it. I will not do it,” she said, adding that as a public official, Jackson was expected to “live up to a higher standard of ethics and integrity.” She also said that Jackson’s actions could not be excused because of mental illness. It has been documented that he has been treated for bipolar disorder.
Federal sentencing guidelines, however, called for a prison term of 46 to 57 months — or just under four years to just under five years. The government had recommended four years, while Jackson’s lawyers had asked that his sentenced be limited to 18 months. Yet he only received the 2.5 years, which again can be reduced with good behavior. At a time when the privileged are clearly experiencing better treatment than the citizenry over Obamacare, this will not go over well in middle America.
“I stand before you today asking for mercy,” Sandra Jackson said. “My heart breaks every day with the pain that it’s caused my babies.”
Her lawyer, Dan Webb, tried to persuade the judge to avoid jail time altogether, arguing that it would be an “unbearable burden” on the children. Even though the judge old Mrs. Jackson, “It is not the court that put your children in this position,” it too was pretty light.
Having their mother gone will be difficult for the children, the judge said, but “it is survivable.” “Today you have to be held out as an example,” the judge said. But did she hold the Jackson’s out as an example?
Sandra Jackson was ultimately ordered to serve 200 hours of community service and pay restitution of $22,000, which is the amount of money she took from her alderman’s campaign account for her own personal use.
The Jacksons, who pleaded guilty in February, entered the courtroom today holding hands with each other. The judge said Jackson’s reporting date for prison would be on or after Nov. 1, which is even a benefit that many convicted citizens are not afforded. Most go to jail immediately after sentencing.
As he got into his SUV to leave, Jackson said, “I still believe in the power of forgiveness. I believe in the power of redemption. Today I manned up and tried to accept responsibility for the errors of my ways— and I still believe in the resurrection.” Oh dear Almighty, can’t you see where this is heading? Clearly, as all Democrats do, we will assuredly see an attempted political comeback. Already, the media has left out the fact that he was and still is a Democrat.
The former congressman’s father – the one and only hustler Rev. Jesse Jackson – sat in the front row during the proceedings, looking around the courtroom and writing notes on a piece of paper, all the while waiting for the hearing to start. During a break just before the sentences were announced, he walked over to the defense table and sat down next to his son, who was slouching in his chair. Weingarten soon joined them, and the younger Jackson was able to manage a laugh at something one of the other men said.
After the sentencing, the senior Jackson walked over to the prosecution table and shook hands with the prosecutors. He later told a group of reporters outside the courthouse that, “This has been an extraordinarily difficult time for our family.” I have no doubt that it was.
Weingarten told reporters that his camp was satisfied with the court’s rulings “but nobody’s celebrating today, obviously.” He said Jackson had suffered a “fall from grace. … It’s a huge day of sadness.” Was he ever at a point of grace to fall from? It is a fair question considering the revelations, which he insisted on denying even after the evidence was mounting.
But the question of fairness or equality of justice remains. With all of the “No Justice” talk after the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin, perhaps we missed the real shortcomings of our justice system. Perhaps, it is not a question of black or white, but a question of rich or poor. Class injustice is far more prominent no matter the color, but I’ve yet to hear not one peep from Jesse Jackson over the decades, nor from any others in the hustler class.
I leave it up to you…