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September 2021


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Tag: Rep. William Jefferson

Jurors in Ex-Cong. William Jefferson Said Mundane Documents — Not $90,000 in FBI Money or FBI Tapes — Convinced Them to Convict

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

By Allan Lengel

Rep.William Jefferson was hardly a household name — that is until FBI agents found $90,000 in his freezer at his Capitol Hill home on Aug. 3, 2005.

In the public’s eye, that seemed to be the center piece of the government’s case against Jefferson.

But  jurors who convicted the ex-Congressman of 11 of 16 public corruption charges last August have broken their silence and told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that it was the mundane documents that convinced them of his guilt, not the cash or photos or FBI secret recordings.

The Times-Picayune, in a story published Sunday by reporter Bruce Alpert, wrote that “particularly compelling, the jurors said, were letters and contracts outlining the payments that businesses were to pay to companies controlled by Jefferson’s family in return for the congressman’s assistance in brokering deals in West Africa.”

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Feds Win Pre-trial Victory in Bribery Case of Ex-Rep. William Jefferson

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

The defense has been continually trying to show that the government charges and evidence have fallen far short.  The judge in the case has ruled to the contrary. Still, in cases like this, there’s never any guarantees of an ultimate victory. Whatever the case, trial starts next week in Alexandria, Va. It’s about time.  It’s been almost four years since the FBI raided Jefferson’s homes in New Orleans and Washington and found the infamous $90,000 in his freezer.

By Bruce Alpert
The Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors will not be required as part of their bribery case against former Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, to prove he sought payments in return for decisions he made as a member of Congress, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge T.S. Ellis III said “it is sufficient for the government to adduce proof, including expert testimony or evidence of defendant’s admissions and conduct, that it was customary … for members of Congress in defendant’s position to exert influence — by advice, recommendation or otherwise, on the issues in question.”

Ellis’ ruling came one week before Jefferson is scheduled face trial in Alexandria, Va., on 16 charges including bribery, racketeering, and honest services fraud.

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Ex-Rep. Jefferson Takes His Constitutional Appeal to the Supreme Court

It has been 3 1/2 years since the FBI raided ex-Rep. William Jefferson’s homes on Capitol Hill and in New Orleans and that man has still not gone to trial. Could this latest move delay the May 26th trial?

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
Ex-Rep. William Jefferson while still in office

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson while still in office

WASHINGTON – Former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson’s attorneys are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court decision rejecting arguments that prosecutors improperly presented information about his legislative duties to a grand jury in violation of a constitutional separation of powers clause.

In a request filed late Wednesday and posted on the court’s Web this morning, Jefferson wants 14 of the 16 corruption charges he faces at a May 26 trial dropped.

The defense attorneys said the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia, in rejecting their appeal, not only failed to take note of grand jury testimony about his role in helping pass an African trade bill – a clear violation they said of the Constitution’s Speech or Debate clause – but refused to review unreleased grand jury testimony to determine if other violations occurred.

“The Speech or Debate Clause is a unique constitutional provision that creates an absolute privilege for legislative activities within its scope,” Jefferson’s attorneys said. “It protects legislators not only from conviction based on legislative acts, but also from having to defend themselves as a result of those acts.”
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