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Tag: William Jefferson

Ex-Congressman Jefferson’s Brother Convicted of Bribery in New Orleans

Just like his brother, Mose Jefferson finds himself headed to prison. It’s a shame a family that could have contributed so much to the public good, chose instead to stuff their pockets. Mose was convicted Friday.

new-orleans-map-istock

By Laura Maggi
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — Mose Jefferson, the older brother of the former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson who was convicted two weeks ago of abusing his congressional office to enrich himself and his family, has been, convicted by a federal jury on four charges that he bribed an Orleans Parish School Board member.

The jury considered a seven-count indictment against Jefferson: one count that he conspired to bribe Ellenese Brooks-Simms, three counts of bribery, two obstruction of justice counts and a count of conspiring to commit money laundering.

Jefferson was found guilty on two of the three counts of bribery, and both counts of obstruction of justice.

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Jury that Convicted Jefferson Says He Should Forfeit $470,000

William Jefferson was already in financial straights before this. He bounced plenty checks and ran up credit cards. Now he and his family face some tough times ahead with the jury’s latest finding.

money-photo

By Bruce Alpert and Jonathan Tilove
New Orleans Times-Picayune

William Jefferson, the former Democratic congressman convicted of 11 of 16 counts of corruption, can be held liable to forfeit more than $470,000 in bribe money paid to sham companies under his family’s control, a jury ruled Thursday, one day after convicting him.

The jury also found that ANJ Group, one of those front companies controlled by Jefferson’s wife, Andrea, and their five daughters, could be required to surrender millions of shares of stock in a Kentucky technology company and a Nigerian telecommunications venture that were at the center of the FBI investigation into Jefferson and are now presumably worthless.

The jury’s forfeiture verdict establishes which assets controlled by the defendant amount to ill-gotten gains, and sets an upper limit on how much the government may demand that he forfeit.

The precise determination of how much Jefferson owes and how it would exacted is left to the judge, T.S. Ellis III, who could make a determination any time up to and including at Jefferson’s sentencing, which is set for Oct. 30.

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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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Waiting Game Continues in Ex-Rep. William Jefferson Trial; Deliberations Resume Today

A verdict is not likely to come until at least Wednesday, and it could take longer. It’s a complicated case and at least a few counts are likely to trigger some spirited conversation during deliberations, which resume Tuesday.

UPDATE: 7 p.m. Wednesday: The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that the jury failed to reach a verdict Tuesday and will resume deliberations Wednesday.

Opening statements in Jefferson trial/courtesy of Art Lien/NBC News
Opening statements in Jefferson trial/courtesy of Art Lien/NBC News

By Jonathan Tilove, and Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, VA. — Jurors in the federal corruption trial of former Rep. William Jefferson completed a third day of deliberations Monday without reaching a verdict, extending a nervous time for everyone involved.

“Nothing is worse than waiting for a jury,” said Harry Rosenberg, a former chief federal prosecutor in New Orleans, now in private practice. “There’s nothing you can do.”

“It’s a really bad time,” said Anna Edwards, daughter of former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who sat through three such ordeals with her father — one of which ended in a verdict of innocent, another with a mistrial and the third with the conviction that sent him to prison.

“You are totally and completely out of control,” she said. “Someone else has your life in their hands and they’re trying to figure out what they’re going to do with it, and they are not even people you know. They’re not people who are your friends or enemies. They are just people”

Jefferson, the former nine-term Democratic congressman from New Orleans, is facing 16 counts, including soliciting bribes, depriving his constituents of his “honest service,” money laundering, obstruction of justice and turning his congressional office into a racketeering enterprise.

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Defense Rests Case in ex-Rep. William Jefferson Trial: Closing Arguments Set for Tues.

William J. Jefferson

William J. Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire

Next Stop: Closing Arguments.

The defense for ex-Rep. William Jefferson rested its case Thursday, opening the door for closing arguments, which are scheduled for Tuesday, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The defense and prosecution will each have  2 1/2 hours to argue before the jury of eight women and four men at the trial in Alexandria, Va., the Picayune reported.

Jefferson, 62,  who did not take the stand on his own behalf, faces 16 counts including bribery.

The case gained national notoriety after FBI agents raided the Congressman’s Capitol Hill condo and found $90,000 in marked FBI bills in his freezer. The FBI probe began in March 2005.

Will ex-Rep. William Jefferson Take the Stand in His Own Defense?

Drum roll please. And now the moment some of you have been waiting for: Will ex-Rep. William Jefferson take the stand on his own behalf? The defense is expected to begin presenting its case later this week and will have to decide if it’s best to put Jefferson on the stand. Some politicians have done more damage than good by taking the stand and acting arrogant. Jefferson is not likely to come off as arrogant, but he may have to do some serious dancing to get around some tough questioning by prosecutors under cross examination.

Jefferson's Atty. Robert Trout Has Tough Decision to Make/law firm photo
Jefferson’s Atty. Robert Trout Has Tough Decision to Make/law firm photo

By Jonathan Tilove
New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON — William Jefferson and his legal team now face the most difficult and fateful decision of his trial: whether the former nine-term Democratic congressman from New Orleans should take the stand in his own defense.

“It’s the last decision you make, ” said James Neal, a prominent Nashville, Tenn., defense attorney. “It’s just a terrible decision to make because the case then turns on it. You can forget about everything else that came before in the case. The case now depends on how well the defendant does.”

Atlanta lawyer Jerome Froelich agreed that the stakes could not be higher for Jefferson.

“What I always fear is that once you put the defendant on the stand, it changes the burden from, ‘did they prove their case?’ to ‘do I believe the defendant?’ ” Froelich said.

Neal represented former Gov. Edwin Edwards in his 1985 racketeering trial. Edwards took the stand. The jury voted 11-1 to acquit. On retrial, Edwards was acquitted.

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Oilman Testifies That Jefferson Wanted Money for His Brother Up Front

The theme throughout this case has been that then-Rep. William Jefferson tried to make sure his family got a slice of pie. In this case, he tried to make sure his brother Mose got plenty of money.

The Jefferson trial/courtesy of Art Lien/NBC News

The Jefferson trial/courtesy of Art Lien/NBC News

By Jonathan Tilove and Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, VA. — In January 2002, Louisiana oil entrepreneur John Melton presented then-Rep. William Jefferson with an agreement promising to give Jefferson’s brother, Mose, 3 percent of any profits from oil, fertilizer and other deals Melton was pursuing with the congressman’s help in Nigeria, according to testimony Wednesday.

“He looked at it and dropped it on his desk (and said), ‘This won’t do,’ ” Melton said at the nine-term Democrat’s corruption trial. Jefferson wanted money for his brother up front, Melton said. After a tense discussion, Jefferson asked Melton to walk him back from the meeting at Melton’s office on Poydras Street to Jefferson’s office, a block away in the Hale Boggs Building.

On the way, Melton said he sought to reassure Jefferson.

“You have my word I will maintain your brother’s interest in these projects,” Melton said he told Jefferson. “As the words came out, I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if the FBI could have any kind of listening device?’ ”

With that, Judge T.S. Ellis III cut Melton short, telling the jury to disregard what it had just heard.

The FBI was not listening, though Melton’s concern was not misplaced. As the jurors know, Lori Mody, a cooperating witness for the FBI, taped her conversations with Jefferson from March to August 2005, and those tapes have formed the core of the government’s corruption charges against Jefferson.

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Prosecution Witness Tesitifies ex-Rep. Jefferson Told Him He Didn’t Think He was Doing Anything Illegal

Sure Jefferson is trying to say that he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. But he’ll have to find some way to explain to the jurors why, when he spoke to an FBI informant who was wearing a wire, he used a code word for money (“African art”) and sounded as if he was doing something very illegal.

William J. Jefferson

William J. Jefferson

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A prosecution witness testified Monday that former Rep. William Jefferson told him in 2002 that as a Harvard-educated lawyer he believes his involvement with international business deals was legal as long as he didn’t legislate on those projects.

George Knost, president of Baton Rouge-based Arkel International, said Jefferson’s comments came in response to a question he asked the congressman about the international projects he heard that Jefferson was involved with, in addition to promoting a Nigerian sugar refinery sponsored by an Arkel subsidiary, Arkel Sugar.

Jefferson’s comments, which Judge T.S. Ellis III allowed to be described to the jury over prosecution objections, seem intended by his attorneys to show he had a clear vision on what activities were legitimate and which were not.

The issue is important. Jefferson’s attorneys argue that the allegations in the government’s 16-count corruption indictment focus on private business deals not covered by the federal bribery statute.

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