Jesse Jackson Jr. has signed an agreement to plead guilty to federal corruption charges and acknowledge misuse of campaign funds, sources tell the Sun-Times.
The former 17-year South Shore congressman had told others he tried "protecting" his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson, who is also under investigation, during negotiations leading up to the plea agreement, but "they wouldn't let him," the source said.
Federal agents from Washington visited Chicago as recently as last week interviewing witnesses about the former congressman, a source with direct knowledge of the effort told the Chicago Sun-Times.
"They're still investigating. They're questioning people to corroborate" Jackson's statements to federal authorities, said the source.
The feds were questioning witnesses about activity in Jackson's congressional campaign fund including transactions in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the source said.
Earlier this week, the Sun-Times reported Sandi Jackson is now the target of a separate investigation by federal officials.
Two sources with knowledge of that probe say authorities believe the former 7th Ward alderman had direct knowledge of alleged misuse of campaign money.
Jesse Jackson Jr. has allegedly misspent a large amount of campaign funds, including buying a $40,000 Rolex watch.
The investigation continues to stun those close to Jackson, target of a different federal probe back in 2008 and 2009 involving former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's attempted sale of President Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat. The Sun-Times first reported in 2010 that a fund-raiser with long ties to the Jackson family told federal authorities that Jackson in October 2008 had directed him to approach the Blagojevich camp with a $6 million offer for the seat.
However, that fund-raiser, Raghuveer Nayak, alleged the conversation was private. Nayak also told authorities that at Jackson's behest, he secretly paid for airline trips for a Jackson female friend to fly from Washington to Chicago.
Nayak himself is now under indictment for conduct involving surgical centers he owns in Illinois and Indiana.
© Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC
Story by 89 WLS reporter Bill Cameron
Updated at 11:47am
The deal reportedly has Jesse Jr. pleading guilty to a felony for spending thousands of dollars of campaign cash on himself – including on a $40,000 Rolex watch – and spending on his one-time “social acquaintance.” He reportedly signed the deal in Washington last Friday.
He would let the judge decide a sentence that could range from probation to 5 years. Prosecutors are reportedly recommending the 5 year maximum.
No indication yet whether his wife ex-alderman sandy Jackson is to be charged with anything.
Reports are circulating that ailing ex-congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has agreed to plead guilty to misusing campaign funds and let a judge decide his sentence. But perhaps more interesting is what's not in the reported plea deal.
If true, this reported plea bargain would mean the Feds are choosing not to charge Jesse Jr. with trying to buy Barack Obama's old Senate seat. That would mean the Feds are backing down from the dare Jesse Jr. made a few years ago when he was on with Don & Roma.
And so the Feds may have decided not to "bring it on" when it comes to that charge, again, if this reported plea bargain is true.
We will update this story as more information becomes available.
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