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August 2009


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

The Jury Has Spoken: William Jefferson Guilty of 11 of 16 Corruption Charges

As expected, ex-Rep. William Jefferson was convicted. The evidence was overwhelming and prosecutors portrayed Jefferson as a shakedown artist and major operator. He may be a nice guy, but he was a crooked politician.

William J. Jefferson

William J. Jefferson

By Bruce Alpert and Jonathan Tilove
The Times-Picayune

William Jefferson, the former Democratic congressman who served the New Orleans area for nine terms, was found guilty today of 11 of 16 corruption charges.

The jury of eight women and four men returned the verdict after five days of deliberation.
Jefferson was charged with soliciting bribes and other crimes for a series of schemes in which he helped American businesses broker deals in West African in exchange for payments or financial considerations to companies controlled by members of his family, including his brother Mose, his wife, Andrea, their five daughters and a son-in-law.

Jefferson faces sentencing Oct. 30 by Judge T.S. Ellis III, who earlier meted out stiff sentences for lesser figures in the case. According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Jefferson faced 235 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Chief prosecutor Mark Lytle said Jefferson could face more than 20 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

With Jefferson, 62, facing what could be the equivalent of a life sentence, prosecutors asked Ellis to remand him to jail as a flight risk. But the judge allowed him to remain free pending his sentencing. A forfeiture hearing will be held Thursday to decide what assets Jefferson will have to surrender.

In a post-verdict news conference, Jefferson referred all questions to his attorney Robert Trout. When asked how he was holding up, the former congressman said, “I’m holding up.”

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