Report: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. nearing plea deal, jail time [VIDEO]

David Martosko Executive Editor
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Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s 17-year career in Congress is coming to an end, and he will likely spend some time in jail as a result of a plea bargain, according to WBBM-TV2, Chicago’s CBS News affiliate.

Former federal prosecutor Dan Webb is negotiating the deal on behalf of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s son. Webb is now chairman of the law firm Winston & Strawn.

WBBM reported that a tentative deal has been reached that will include a guilty plea on charges that Jackson misused campaign funds for his own personal gain. He would have to resign his seat in Congress and pay back political contributions that he used for personal expenses and perks.

“At least some jail time would seem inevitable,” the Chicago newscast reported Friday night.

Rep. Jackson, a longtime ally of President Barack Obama who served as the national co-chairman of his successful 2008 presidential campaign, has been under treatment for Bipolar II disorder at the Mayo Clinic for months. He also underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2004, which can affect how the body absorbs nutrients and medications.

Jackson easily won re-election on Nov. 6 even though he did no real campaigning. A special election would be called to replace him if he formally resigned.

Federal investigators say he spent campaign contributions on himself, including diverting funds for travel and home furnishings. The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that the travel was for a blonde nightclub hostess with whom Jackson was having an extramarital affair.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Jackson’s lawyers initially asked federal prosecutors to promise not to seek an indictment before the Nov. 6 election. The Obama administration’s Justice Department, however, reportedly refused to make any guarantees.

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David Martosko