Jesse Jackson Jr. pleads guilty to abuse of campaign funds

Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and making false statements in U.S. District Court today, admitting that he “used monies that should have been used for campaign purposes.”  He said he passed on a trial because “I have no interest in wasting the taxpayers’ time or money.”

Presumably he means no further interest, since he just wasted a ton of time and money winning re-election from a mental institution, thanks to the Chicago Democrat political machine.  He’s been in Congress since 1995.  His unspecified condition – which he insists had nothing to do with substance abuse – has apparently improved, because he told the court, “I have never been more clear in my life than I am now.”

CNN reports that it’s not yet clear exactly what penalties Jackson will face:

That charge carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but [Judge Robert] Wilkins noted that prosecutors and defense attorneys said sentencing guidelines indicated an appropriate sentence of 46 to 57 months in prison and a fine of between $10,000 and $100,000.

However, Wilkins said he was not bound by sentencing guidelines, telling Jackson: “The bottom line is, I don’t know what sentence you’re going to get and you don’t know what sentence you’re going to get.”

Jackson’s lawyer, Reid Weingarten, told reporters after the hearing that he would mount a strong legal case for a fair sentence, noting his client is the father of two young children and has the health problems mentioned in court.

Your Honor, you can’t be too hard on my client for swiping $4,600 of campaign funds to buy Michael Jackson’s hat, because no sane man would swipe $4,600 of campaign funds to buy Michael Jackson’s hat.

Jackson’s wife, former Chicago alderman Sandra Jackson, is facing her own tax fraud hearing later today, where she’s expected to plead guilty.  She also pops up in the list of charges against Jesse Jackson Jr. as “Conspirator 1,” enjoying $5,150 worth of fur coats purchased in Beverly Hills with campaign money.