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June 2022


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Tag: Judge T.S. Ellis III

Ex-Rep William Jefferson Gets Big Break: Judge Allows Him to Remain Free Pending Appeal

Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Ever since FBI agents raided his homes in Washington and New Orleans in 2005, little has gone his way. But Wednesday was different for ex-Rep. William Jefferson, who faces a 13 year prison sentence.

In an unexpected move, and against the advice of the prosecution, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria, Va. ruled that Jefferson, 62, could stay out of prison pending the outcome of an appeal, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He was convicted in August of 11 public corruption counts.

The ruling means Jefferson, who lost a bid for a 10th term in Congress last year, could remain free for at least another year. In court papers filed last week, his attorney had acknowledged the possibility that Jefferson might soon have to report to prison shortly after sentencing, and asked that the judge at least let him spend Christmas with the family.

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Judge Ellis in William Jefferson Corruption Case: Quirky, Caustic, Old School

Whatever you think of Judge Ellis, you can only come away with the thought that he’s a bright, no nonsense judge. A little full of himself? Well…you could probably conclude that as well. Closing arguments, which were scheduled for Tuesday, are now set for Wednesday.


By Jonathan Tilove
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, VA. — It was the last day of testimony in the government’s case against former Rep. William Jefferson and prosecution and defense attorneys, out of the jury’s hearing, were haggling over the relevance of a flow chart showing how some of the money allegedly exacted by the congressman’s family from business deals he aided in Africa ended up paying Harvard tuition for one of Jefferson’s daughters.

“Having paid some Harvard tuition, I doubt that it was worth it, ” said Judge T.S. Ellis III, Harvard Law School class of 1969. He went on to suggest that colleges these days largely serve a purpose once more capably performed by the military of quarantining adolescents from the broader society, while doing little to provide the classical education that was once their charge.

“We’re losing it, our culture, ” Ellis, 69, fretted from the bench. “In the old days every schoolboy could translate the Aeneid, ” he said, though he allowed he is not old enough to have been one of those schoolboys.

For Full Story

Fed Judge in William J. Jefferson Trial Expresses Frustration at Pace

William J. Jefferson

William J. Jefferson

By Rachel Leven
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The federal judge in the public corruption trial of ex-Rep. William J. Jefferson chided the government Monday, saying it needed to do a better job focusing its case.

“You, the government, need to focus sharply this case,” said  U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.

Ellis also criticized the defense for some of its line of  questioning during cross examination of a key government witness and remarked:

“If this case lasts six weeks it will certainly be contrary to my intentions.”

The judge’s remarks came in frustration to the pace of the trial, which is expected to last anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. Jefferson, 62,  faces 16 public corruption counts including taking bribes and bribing a foreign official.

On Monday, the defense spent time questioning  a government’s key witness Vernon L. Jackson, the president of iGate, a Kentucky company that Jefferson had a financial interest in, and tried to promote in Africa. Jackson is serving a 7 year and 3 month sentence for bribing Jefferson.

Jackson has offered his opinions on the stand, saying his  payments to Jefferson and his family were bribes. But Judge Ellis said it was irrelevant whether any of the witnesses  considered their acts bribes  He said it essentially came down to whether the acts fit the bribery statutes.

Trial resumed  this afternoon with the defense continuing its cross examination of Vernon Jackson.