Congressman Jefferson's Brush with the Law

This is supposed to be a nation of laws, not of men.  At least that's what we were repeatedly told during the Clinton impeachment a few years ago.  But the leaders of the U.S. Congress (in both parties) seem to be stonewalling an FBI investigation of Congressman William J. Jefferson (D-La.).  This is ostensibly because the FBI is part of the Executive Branch, and — the claim is being made — therefore is not allowed to investigate corruption in the Legislative Branch.

From this we can infer that the Legislative Branch has an investigative arm that is comparable to the FBI, eager and willing to conduct its own investigation.  But I can't recall a time when the Government Accountability Office has conducted a raid on a Congressman's office or residence.  Nor can I recall when a Congressman has ever been caught with $90,000 in his freezer -- and was re-elected nonetheless!

It seems obvious to me that while the separation of powers issue makes for interesting questions, those questions have probably been answered long ago, perhaps as far back as 1787, and the technicalities are now being introduced just to buy a little time.  The term "red herring" comes to mind, since this isn't the first time (since the creation of the FBI) that a Congressman has been accused of misconduct.  This was, however, the first time in the history of Congress that a warrant had been used to search a lawmaker's office.*

In any event, it seems to me that if Mr. Jefferson had been a Republican, this story would have been headline news every day.

Overview / recap articles, constitutional questions, and red herrings:

Judge allows Jefferson probe to continue.  A federal judge said Wednesday [7/19/2006] that investigators could examine documents seized in a search of Representative William Jefferson's office, denying a request to delay the bribery probe while the Louisiana Democrat appeals the judge's earlier ruling that the search was legal.

For William Jefferson, Congress Unites to Protect Its Own.  So now we know what it takes for House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to be united in outrage.  They finally came together this week, passionately so, in protest.  No, it wasn't terrorism, or inadequate health care, or the $50 fill-up that prompted Congressional leaders to put partisanship aside.  In fact, it had absolutely nothing to do with you and me.  It was all about them.

Black politicians should be held to high standard.  The [William J.] Jefferson case is special.  He has been on the legal hot seat for months.  He's been the target of an ongoing criminal investigation and a House ethics probe.  He left a bitter taste in the mouths of many New Orleans residents during the Hurricane Katrina debacle when he allegedly commandeered a National Guard truck to check on his personal property and save personal belongings.

Congress is crying wolf on separation of powers flap.  House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a nearly unprecedented joint statement condemning the FBI raid and demanding that the FBI return the documents.  With all due respect, these claims are preposterous, and I don't believe President Bush should have intervened, even if just to provide a cooling-off period.

AG, FBI Chief Made A Stand Over Raid.  Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI director Robert Mueller signaled they would resign this week rather than give in to Congress in a dispute over an FBI raid on Rep. William Jefferson's Capitol Hill office, an administration official tells CBS News. … The dispute raged across Washington all week before President George W. Bush eased tensions on Thursday [5/25/2006], ordering that the seized documents be sealed for 45 days.

A Defiant Stance In Jefferson Probe.  The Justice Department signaled to the White House this week that the nation's top three law enforcement officials would resign or face firing rather than return documents seized from a Democratic congressman's office in a bribery investigation, according to administration sources familiar with the discussions.

House Leaders Want Return of Items Seized in FBI Search.  House leaders from both parties escalated a confrontation with the Bush administration Wednesday [5/24/2006], demanding the return of all materials seized in an unprecedented FBI raid on the office of a congressman under investigation for bribery.  And the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), announced he would hold hearings next week on what he called serious constitutional questions concerning the search of the Capitol Hill office of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.).

Raid on Jefferson's Office Prompts Hearing.  "The FBI's unprecedented Saturday night raid of Rep. Jefferson's Capitol Hill office raises profoundly disturbing constitutional questions that must be addressed," Sensenbrenner said in a press release.  The oversight hearing, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30, is entitled, "Reckless Justice:  Did the Saturday Night Raid of Congress Trample the Constitution?"

White House Caves on House Papers.  [President Bush] ordered the documents sealed for 45 days while people try to figure out what to do.  Nobody has access to those documents for 45 days. This has probably crippled the FBI's case.  What good is 45 days going to do?  What will be different then from now?

Sen. Frist:  FBI Search Controversy 'Put to Bed'.  Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Sunday [5/28/2006] he had talked the issue over with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and concluded that the FBI acted appropriately.  "I don't think it abused separation of powers," Frist said on "Fox News Sunday."  "I think there's allegations of criminal activity, and the American people need to have the law enforced."

Judge rules Capitol Hill raid was legal.  An FBI raid on a Louisiana congressman's Capitol Hill office was legal, a federal judge ruled Monday [7/10/2006].  Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said members of Congress are not above the law.  He rejected requests from lawmakers and Democratic Rep. William Jefferson to return material seized by the FBI in a May 20-21 search of Jefferson's office.

Papers From Jefferson Office Raid in Limbo.  Prosecutors and investigators building a bribery case against Rep. William Jefferson have been unable to examine the documents and computer files seized in a search of the lawmaker's Capitol Hill office.  The materials were placed off limits by President Bush for 45 days, a cooling-off period that ended Sunday [7/9/2006].  Yet there has been no resolution of the court fight or talks between congressional leaders and the Justice Department.

The African Connection:  The documents seized in the FBI raid on the offices of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) remain unread by Justice Department investigators, pending a federal Appeals Court ruling scheduled for August 27.  Jefferson is anxious to overturn the ruling of federal Judge Hogan of the Washington, DC federal District Court, who allowed the raid.  One can only surmise that the seized documents contain material even more embarrassing than the discovery of $90,000 in cash in Jefferson's freezer.

William Jefferson to Get Two Days to Review Papers in Bribery Case.  A federal appeals court has allowed Rep. William Jefferson to review all the documents taken from his office by the FBI in a May search of his office that stems from an ongoing bribery investigation.

Jefferson Wins A Round in Court.  A federal appeals court ruled yesterday [7/28/2006] that prosecutors may not examine documents seized from Rep. William J. Jefferson's Capitol Hill office until the congressman has a chance to review them for privileged legislative materials.  A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered the Justice Department to copy the seized materials and show them to Jefferson.

Rep. Jefferson loses party endorsement.  The Louisiana Democratic Party turned down eight-term U.S. Rep. William Jefferson on Saturday [10/14/2006] and endorsed state Rep. Karen Carter, one of a dozen challengers who emerged after Jefferson became the target of a federal bribery investigation.

Rep. Jefferson Challenges FBI Raid.  Rep. William Jefferson's attorney told federal judges Tuesday [5/15/2007] that last year's FBI raid on the congressman's office had grave implications for the independence of the legislative branch, and he asked the court to declare the search unconstitutional.

Congressman calls raid unconstitutional.  Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., says an FBI raid last year on his congressional office was unconstitutional, and he wants the seized material returned.  His lawyer appeared Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Attorney Robert Trout said the search was unconstitutional because while FBI agents looked for documents related to a criminal inquiry, they also examined records related to Jefferson's work as a legislator.

Are Members of Congress Accountable for Anything?  In a year when Congressional committees see no limits to what they will subpoena from the executive branch or about what they will interrogate its officers and employees, they rushed to court to keep the Department of Justice from subpoenaing the records of a Congressman caught with tens of thousands of dollars in his freezer.

Rep. William Jefferson's Bribery Trial Delayed Following Appeal.  The trial of a Louisiana congressman charged with bribery will be delayed so an appeals court can hear arguments on whether his status as a congressman protects him from prosecution.

The Editor asks...
Does he really believe that Members of Congress are immune from prosecution?  How many other Congressmen believe that?

Timely news and commentary:

The latest:
Congressman With Cash In His Freezer Released From Prison Because The Bar For Corruption Is Higher Now.  Former Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson was released from prison after serving less than half of his 13-year sentence, due to a Supreme Court ruling that increased the prosecutorial threshold for corruption charges.  U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III re-sentenced Jefferson, a former Democratic lawmaker, to time served Friday morning [12/1/2017] after vacating Jefferson's last remaining conviction, according to The Washington Post.  Ellis first sentenced Jefferson in 2009 on corruption charges, but was compelled to reduce the 13-year sentence due to the high court's reinterpretation of what behavior constitutes public corruption.  The Supreme Court case concerning Republican Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell led to the redefinition of what behavior on the part of an elected official constitutes an "official act," narrowing the scope of potentially prosecutable behavior.  The conviction on 16 charges stemmed from Jefferson's involvement in African business dealings, which at one point compelled him to hide $90,000 in his freezer on behalf of the president of Nigeria.

A Familiar Face In Government Corruption Has A Big Smile On It Now.  Here's a name which may come as a real blast from the past.  How many of you recall William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson?  He was a Democratic congressman from Louisiana who wound up in some trouble with the law involving shady overseas deals and the small matter of some cold, hard cash.  "Cold" is the operative word here, as Ed Morrissey explained way back in 2009 when Jefferson was heading off to prison.

Years ealier:
Former Rep. William Jefferson's conviction upheld by appeals panel.  A three-judge appellate court panel today unanimously affirmed all but one of 11 guilty counts returned against former Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, by a Virginia jury in 2009.  The ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is unlikely to impact the 13-year sentenced handed down by Trial Judge T.S Ellis III.  The 12-member jury in Alexandria, Va., had found Jefferson guilty of 11 of 16 corruption charges.

Former La. Congressman to Begin Prison Sentence.  A former Louisiana congressman convicted of taking bribes will have to begin serving a 13-year prison sentence within two weeks.

Figure tied to Jefferson scandal running for president of Nigeria.  A Nigerian leader accused of bribing former Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson (D) is now running for president of that country.  Former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who served under President Olusegun Obasanjo during his eight years in office, told reporters Sunday he would seek the People's Democratic Party's backing to run against President Goodluck Jonathan, according to the Associated Press.  Elections could be as early as January.

How Do You Measure Integrity?  When William Jefferson, the Louisiana congressman who got caught by the FBI with ninety grand in his freezer, was arrogantly running for reelection, did anyone hear an elected official criticize him for his moral turpitude?  Surely, one congressman could have taken to the floor of the House and given a verbal thrashing to the man who made the term "cold cash" a punchline on the late-night comedy shows.

Ex-Rep. Jefferson Sentenced to 13 Years for Bribery.  The former Louisiana congressman who famously hid $90,000 cash in his freezer following an FBI bribery sting was sentenced to 13 years in prison Friday, the longest term ever imposed on a congressman convicted of bribery.

William Jefferson sentencing of 27-33 years recommended.  Prosecutors on Friday night [11/6/2009] issued a memorandum recommending that former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson be sentenced to between 27 and 33 years in prison.  Jefferson, 62, will be sentenced by federal Judge T.S. Ellis III on Nov. 13.

Judge denies ex-Rep. Jefferson new trial.  A federal judge has denied former Rep. William Jefferson's (D-La.) request for a new trial.  Jefferson had requested the new trial based in part on the judge's refusal to allow the jury to hear about a sexual relationship between a government informant — who wore a wire and recorded conversations with the defendant — and an FBI agent assigned to the corruption case.

Former Rep. William Jefferson, wife file for bankruptcy.  Former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson and his wife, Andrea, have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection as the convicted ex-congressman prepares for a forfeiture hearing in his federal corruption case.

Jefferson case shows meltdown of Orleans Parish School Board.  In January 2004, Orleans Parish School Board President Ellenese Brooks-Simms, dressed in her typical high style, pulled her burgundy late-model Cadillac up to McDonogh No. 35 High School.  She knew nothing of the palace coup awaiting at that night's meeting.  And Brooks-Simms' board colleagues had no clue she had taken a $50,000 bribe that same day, the second in a series of three kickbacks totaling $140,000.

William Jefferson Convicted in Cash-in-Freezer Case.  During his many years in Congress, William Jefferson accumulated power the quiet way.  He walled himself off from the garish self-promotion that defines so many of his colleagues.  Now, barring a successful appeal of his corruption conviction, he faces years behind the walls of prison.

Ex-Congressman Jefferson Convicted of Seeking Bribes.  William Jefferson, the former U.S. congressman whose freezer was stuffed with $90,000 in marked bills, was convicted of soliciting bribes in exchange for official acts.  The guilty verdict was returned yesterday on 11 of 16 counts by a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia.  He faces up to 20 years in prison on each count.  The jury, after deliberating today, found that cash and stock worth $470,653 were linked to the crimes.  The court will determine later how much money Jefferson must forfeit.

Jefferson faces financial hits at sentencing.  Former Rep. William J. Jefferson may have skated on the charges directly related to the cash found in his freezer, but he still faces a financial deep freeze.  The same jury that convicted the Louisiana Democrat of 11 of 16 corruption charges decided Thursday [8/6/2009] that he should forfeit $470,653 he collected from his illegal schemes.  The jury also said the government should seize stock shares of indeterminate value that Jefferson also received as bribes.

Jefferson Conviction Is Bittersweet For Justice Department.  The federal jury that found former Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson guilty Wednesday of 11 felonies, including bribery and racketeering, delivered its verdict four years and two days after FBI agents found $90,000 in his freezer.

Jury hits ex-congressman with $470,000 forfeiture.  The jury that convicted former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson on 11 counts of corruption said Thursday [8/6/2009] that he should forfeit almost half a million dollars in assets derived from criminal activity.  After deliberating for almost three hours, the panel voted unanimously to agree with prosecutors that the assets were linked with the crimes, except for one alleged bribe payment.

Let He With $0.00 in His Freezer Cast the First Stone.  As defense attorney for the congressman who stashed the bribe money in his freezer, Robert Trout had an unenviable task.  So in his closing arguments Wednesday [7/29/2009], Trout adopted a different client:  He acted as if all of Washington were on trial.

Jury resumes deliberations in William Jefferson case.  Jurors returned this morning to begin a third day of deliberations in the public corruption case of former Democratic Congressman William Jefferson.  The jury convenes four years to the day after FBI raids of Jefferson's homes in New Orleans and Washington, D.C. The raids brought the investigation into the public eye and also yielded the most iconic element of the case:  $90,000 found hidden in the congressman's freezer.

Jury sees video of congressman accepting cash.  A federal jury has seen video of a former Louisiana congressman accepting a suitcase filled with $100,000 in cash outside a northern Virginia hotel.  The videos played Tuesday [7/7/2009] are a key piece of evidence in the bribery trial of William Jefferson, a Democrat who represented parts of New Orleans.  He's accused of accepting more than $400,000 in bribes to broker business deals in Africa.

William Jefferson corruption trial shifts to other 'schemes'.  After more than three weeks of testimony about William Jefferson's efforts to bring telecommunications projects to western Africa in return for what prosecutors labeled bribes, the jury Thursday heard about several of the other 11 alleged schemes in the corruption indictment against the nine-term former congressman.

N.O. accountant testifies that Jefferson family firm took in cash, but incurred no expenses.  A company created by the wife of former Rep. William Jefferson billed a Kentucky technology firm for thousands of dollars in consulting fees without spending a dime on office space, travel, gas, stamps or a single employee, the congressman's former accountant testified Monday [6/29/2009].

Prosecutors play audiotapes at Jefferson's trial.  Prosecutors are playing audiotapes of former Louisiana congressman William Jefferson talking with a woman about business deals he is accused of brokering in exchange for bribes.  Jefferson's conversations with businesswoman Lori Mody were recorded in 2005 in restaurants in Washington and northern Virginia.

William 'Dollar Bill' Jefferson.  Jefferson has a couple of tricky things to explain away:  [#1] Why he was filmed by the FBI accepting a briefcase containing $100,000 from an FBI informant and putting the briefcase in the trunk of his car at the Pentagon City mall.  [#2] Why $90,000 of that money was found by the FBI in the freezer of his Capitol Hill apartment, in small bundles disguised as leftovers. ... Your challenge today:  Imagine a scenario under which one or both of the above facts can be explained as a perfectly innocent misunderstanding.

Silent Scandals:  In just the last month, an unusual number of what were formerly regarded as scandals went unnoticed and largely unreported by the old media, to wit: ...Remember "Cold Cash" Jefferson?  The Democrat caught with a cool $90,000 in his freezer?  He's currently on trial.  The media have chosen not to cover the story.

Kentucky businessman dominates Jefferson trial.  The first week of former Rep. William Jefferson's (D-La.) corruption trial was dominated by testimony from the head of a telecommunications firm who said he paid thousands of dollars to the lawmaker for his influence.  Kentucky businessman Vernon Jackson said Jefferson used his office to secure multimillion-dollar deals for the telecommunications firm iGate, and enriched himself in the process.

Judge raps lawyers for going too slowly in Jefferson trial.  The federal judge in the bribery trial of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson lashed out Monday [6/22/2009] at attorneys in the case for the slow pace of the proceedings.  Government prosecutors have said they intend to call 49 witnesses over the estimated six-week trial.  Their first witness has been on the stand for a week.

USA v. Jefferson.  Opening arguments for the trial of former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson commenced June 16, 2009 at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.  The Congressman was charged with 16 criminal counts including conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, racketeering, and obstruction of justice.  U.S. attorney Mark Lytle started by informing the jury how Congressman Jefferson used his government position for personal and family benefits.

Jefferson 'cold cash' blamed on FBI sting.  The attorney for William J. Jefferson tackled the "elephant in the room" in opening statements Tuesday [6/16/2009], explaining the notorious $90,000 "cold cash" discovered in the former congressman's freezer as an FBI setup bid.  Prosecutors, for their part, painted a portrait of a debt-ridden man selling out the public good.

Ex-Rep. Jefferson Goes on Trial to Face Bribery Charges.  Former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson faces several obstacles to being acquitted of bribery, racketeering and other federal charges — and topping the list is explaining the $90,000 cash stashed in his freezer.  Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who represented parts of New Orleans until losing his bid for re-election last year, goes on trial Tuesday [6/9/2009] in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on allegations that he received more than $400,000 in bribes in return for using his influence to broker business deals in Africa.

Mose Jefferson seeks dismissal of racketeering indictment.  A former Louisiana congressman's brother asked a federal judge Monday [6/8/2009] to dismiss the racketeering conspiracy case against him, his girlfriend and two of his relatives, calling it a politically motivated prosecution.

The 'culture of corruption' is alive and well with Democrats.  Blagojevich's "pay to play" approach is all too common in big cities.  Former Congressman Ozzie Myers (D-PA) was indicted and convicted in the early 1980s for attempting to sell political favors to undercover FBI agents.  Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) also was indicted on corruption charges.  One of the more colorful parts of his case is that $90,000 in cash was found in his freezer.  Jefferson was re-elected in 2006 in spite of the charge, but was narrowly defeated this year by a Republican of Vietnamese heritage.  I am sure the Democrats were happy to see him lose.

Court Declines to Hear Jefferson's Challenge.  The Supreme Court announced Monday [5/18/2009] that it would not hear former Rep. William J. Jefferson's challenge to his indictment on public corruption charges.  Jefferson, D-La. (1991-2009), will stand trial June 2 on 16 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, soliciting bribes and other charges.

Prosecutors to court:  Get on with Jefferson trial.  Federal prosecutors are urging an appeals court to get on with Rep. William Jefferson's corruption trial, saying his appeal to the Supreme Court does not have enough chance of success to justify further delays.  Jefferson. D-La., was indicted on bribery charges after agents found $90,000 in his freezer.

Bribery trial looms as Jefferson loses delay bid.  The Louisiana Democrat, in his final days in office, lost a longshot bid Monday to delay his trial on bribery charges.  Jefferson has been trying to get the charges thrown out, but a federal judge refused and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision in November.  In a one-sentence ruling Monday [12/29/2008], the appeals court refused to put that decision on hold while Jefferson appealed to the Supreme Court.

Election loss may have cost Jefferson a key bargaining chip.  Indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson's election loss may have cost him more than just his congressional seat.  Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who likely faces a trial next year on bribery and money laundering charges, can no longer offer his resignation as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.  Jefferson has pleaded not guilty in the case, which started in 2005 when federal agents found $90,000 in alleged bribe money stashed in the freezer of his Washington home.

Rep. Jefferson suffers another legal blow.  Days after losing his congressional seat of more than 18 years, Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) has suffered another legal blow.  A federal appeals court has refused to reevaluate a ruling that rejected his request to throw out most of the corruption charges against him, according to a report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Jefferson's lawyers seek dismissal of most charges.  Attorneys for Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) have asked the full 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to consider dropping 14 of the 16 criminal charges against him.  Jefferson's attorneys argue that the lawmaker's Constitutional Speech or Debate protections were violated when his congressional staffers testified before a Virginia grand jury.  A three-judge panel recently unanimously rejected that argument.

Indicted Louisiana congressman loses re-election bid.  Nine-term Democratic Rep. William Jefferson, who has been battling scandals and a federal indictment for the past three years, lost his bid for re-election on Saturday [12/6/2008].  Republican challenger Anh "Joseph" Cao, an attorney and community organizer, defeated Jefferson in the 2nd Congressional district race. He will become the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress.

Cao unseats Jefferson.  In a stunning victory, a little-known Vietnamese-American Republican candidate defeated nine-time Democratic Congressman William Jefferson in a majority African-American district with a very small number of Republican registered voters.

Jefferson trial could be delayed for months.  Rep. William Jefferson's (D-La.) trial, which was postponed last week beyond its original Dec. 2 start date, may not begin for months.  Last week Judge T.S. Ellis III scheduled a status conference and a hearing on all pending motions in the case for Dec. 19, the next step before Jefferson's trial on 16 counts of corruption can begin.

Cash flows to Jefferson despite bribery trial.  Despite his looming trial on federal bribery charges, Louisiana Democratic Rep. William J. Jefferson hasn't had any trouble raising money from his allies in Congress.  Since his June 2007 indictment, Mr. Jefferson has raised more than a quarter-million dollars in political donations to retain the House seat he's held since 1990.

Congressman's Bribery Trial Date Likely to Slip to 2009.  All signs are pointing towards Louisiana Rep. William J. Jefferson's upcoming federal bribery and corruption trial slipping until some time next year.  On Thursday [11/6/2008], U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III canceled a hearing that had been planned for Friday in his Alexandria, Va. courtroom.  Ellis also canceled every other deadline for briefs and hearings in the nine-term Democrat's trial.

Jefferson's popularity with voters sparks debate.  In one breath, people here talk about William Jefferson as an embattled U.S. congressman under indictment on bribery charges.  In another, they talk about him as their man in Washington, a shoo-in for re-election.  Jefferson's decisive victory in last week's Democratic runoff leaves him poised to claim a 10th term in the House of Representatives at the same time that he is awaiting trial on federal corruption charges.

Jefferson hopes to continue surviving scandal.  Indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson continued to fight for political survival Tuesday in a Democratic primary runoff against a former television reporter who argued that scandal had obliterated the influence Jefferson built during his 18 years in Congress.  Jefferson, 61, became Louisiana's first black congressman since Reconstruction when he was elected in 1991.

U.S. Rep. William Jefferson cruises past Moreno to December runoff.  With his trial on federal corruption charges looming and questions swirling about his effectiveness in Congress, U.S. Rep. William Jefferson cruised to an easy victory Tuesday in the Democratic Party runoff for the 2nd Congressional District.

Amid jokes about 'cold cash,' indicted Louisiana congressman bids for 10th term.  Sordid bribery allegations and jokes about "cold cash" hidden in Rep. William Jefferson's freezer apparently did not matter much to voters two years ago when the New Orleans Democrat won a runoff election for his long-held congressional seat with a surprising 57 percent. … Now that two more years have passed, Jefferson's political future has become more precarious.

Rep. William Jefferson's attorneys ask court to throw out charges.  Testimony before a federal grand jury ... violated a separation of powers clause in the Constitution and requires that 14 of 16 criminal charges against the congressman be thrown out, his attorney argued Tuesday.  Attorney Robert Trout told a three-judge appeals panel that the Speech or Debate clause of the Constitution is "absolute," and intended to ensure that the legislative branch is "independent" and a "co-equal" branch with the executive.

Bill Jefferson gets campaign cash from family.  In 2006, Jefferson managed to easily win re-election despite the public corruption investigation, but his subsequent indictment by the Justice Department and the recent indictment of other family members — including his brother Mose Jefferson and sister Betty Jefferson — on separate corruption charges in New Orleans could make a repeat difficult.

Judge rejects Jefferson's plea.  A U.S. district judge has rejected Rep. William Jefferson's (D-La.) attempt to get racketeering charges dismissed.  Jefferson's legal team argued that there were no connection between several of the alleged schemes prosecutors are accusing Jefferson of orchestrating so there is no grounds for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) charge.

Judge denies request to dismiss some Jefferson charges.  A federal judge rejected Rep. William Jefferson's (D-La.) request to dismiss five counts of wire fraud in the wide-ranging corruption case against him.  Jefferson's attorneys argued that the wire fraud charges were invalid because Jefferson's alleged activities would not have denied his constituents['] honest services.

Jeffersons tied to Shepherd conspiracy case.  U.S. Rep. William Jefferson and Orleans Parish Assessor Betty Jefferson are the unidentified public officials described in the April conspiracy indictment against state Sen. Derrick Shepherd, according to Shepherd's attorneys.  Federal prosecutors acknowledged in a preliminary hearing Thursday [7/10/2008] that they recently disclosed the identities of "Public Official A" and "Public Official B" to Shepherd's defense team, but they would not make the information part of the public record, a decision backed by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier.

Judge rejects Jefferson on evidence.  A federal judge rejected Rep. William Jefferson's (D-La.) request to suppress evidence gathered during an FBI search of his Louisiana home in 2005.  Judge T.S. Ellis III determined that FBI agents did not abuse Jefferson's rights during the raid because he was not arrested or held in custody.  Jefferson could have terminated the interview he had with the agents at any time and could have left the house immediately when the agents started searching his home, according to the judge.

Five Louisiana Democrats challenging US Rep. Jefferson.  Beleaguered U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, under a cloud of federal bribery allegations, faces a crowd of challengers in his re-election bid, with at least five fellow Democrats opposing the veteran lawmaker.

Sister to Rep. William Jefferson Pleads Guilty to Concealing Federal Fraud Scheme.  One of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson's sisters pleaded guilty Wednesday [6/18/2008] to concealing a crime for her role in alleged scheme to defraud the federal government.  Brenda Jefferson, 52, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony.

Indicted Louisiana congressman to seek re-election.  A New Orleans congressman who is facing trial on federal corruption charges says he will seek re-election to a 10th term.

Jefferson pays back a witness.  As his legal troubles mounted last year, Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) began to pay off a loan to an executive of a Maryland-based global satellite company who is now cooperating with prosecutors and could testify against Jefferson.  Noah Samara, CEO of Worldspace Inc., made a personal loan of between $50,000 and $100,000 to Jefferson in 2001.

Jefferson sibling pleads guilty in fraud.  Dealing a blow to her family's hang-tough legal posture, Brenda Jefferson, the youngest sister of embattled U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, pleaded guilty Wednesday [6/18/2008] to concealing her knowledge of a conspiracy to skim money from nonprofit groups controlled by relatives.  The plea marked the first admission of guilt by a member of the Jefferson family, five of whom have been charged with federal crimes in the past year.

Judge sets Dec. 2 trial date for Jefferson.  U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III today set a Dec. 2 trial date in the federal corruption case of Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, although the judge admitted that it could be delayed again.  Ellis made his comments during a hearing in which he again refused a request by Jefferson's attorneys to grant a change of venue for the trial from Virginia to Washington, D.C.

What Happened with Rep. William Jefferson's Indictment?  Jefferson was allegedly responsible for negotiating, offering and delivering payments of bribes to the official identified in the indictment as "Nigerian Official A."  On or before Aug. 3, 2005, at his residence in Washington, DC, Jefferson allegedly secreted in his freezer $90,000 of the $100,000 in cash provided by the CW [Cooperating Witness] as part of the front-end bribe payment to Nigerian Official A.  The cash was separated into $10,000 increments, wrapped in aluminum foil, and concealed inside various frozen food containers.  According to Justice Department officials, Jefferson faces a maximum of 235 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Another Jefferson family member indicted.  Betty Jefferson, an elder sister of the indicted congressman, conspired with other family members to plunder more than $600,000 in taxpayer money from three charities that were supposed to help inner-city youths, alleged a 31-count indictment Wednesday.

Let's hear it for Jefferson family values.  Congressman "Dollar" Bill Jefferson, D-New Orleans, must be one proud patriarch.  To judge from the federal indictments that continue to rain down, his kinfolk were filled with a desire to be just like him.  They could not, of course, hope to emulate the scale of his alleged scams and shakedowns, which, as befits a politician in such exalted office, played out across two continents.

Louisiana Congressman's Brother Indicted.  The eldest brother and political strategist of indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson has been charged with giving payoffs to a school-board president — a bribery case apparently unrelated to the one against the congressman.

William Jefferson's brother, sister and niece indicted.  The brother, sister and niece of indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) were indicted themselves today [6/4/2008] for allegedly skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars from nonprofit groups they controlled, according to The Associated Press.

Case Against Congressman Began in Africa.  During President Clinton's trip to Africa in 1998, Rep. William Jefferson joined the cadre of politicians, press advisers, trade experts and foreign diplomats aboard Air Force One. … A decade later, the trip looks increasingly like the starting point for a pattern of corruption Jefferson allegedly established during the expansion of African trade that followed Clinton's visit.

High Court Declines Rep. Jefferson Case.  The Supreme Court on Monday refused to step into a legal fight between the Justice Department and a member of Congress who has been indicted on bribery charges.  The court declined to review an appeals court ruling that the FBI reviewed legislative documents in the office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., in violation of the Constitution.

Streisand pitches in as leaders write checks to defense funds.  For lawmakers faced with mounting legal bills, itŐs good to have friends in high places with deep pockets. … Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who will face trial late this month on an array of bribery and corruption charges, has collected a total of $166,550 since 2005 to help defray legal costs.  Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have sent a steady stream of checks to the Louisiana Democrat, and this quarter was no different.

Louisiana congressman indictment still valid.  A judge refused Wednesday [2/6/2008] to toss out an indictment against a Louisiana congressman accused of taking bribes, rejecting the argument that the indictment unconstitutionally infringed on his privileges as a congressman.  Attorneys for Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat, sought to have most of the indictment against their client thrown out, arguing that testimony given by his staffers to the grand jury that handed up the indictment violated the Constitution's speech or debate clause.

Jefferson describes hostile questioning.  Congressman William Jefferson accused FBI agents Thursday [1/17/2008] of lying in court and yelling at him during what he said was a hostile interrogation in his New Orleans home in August 2005.  It marked Jefferson's first statements in open court since he pleaded not guilty in his arraignment in June of last year.

Jefferson Linked to Africa Diamonds Case.  Rep. William Jefferson, facing a federal trial on corruption charges, has been linked to the prosecution of a former diamond executive in Botswana, opening a new window onto the congressman's dealings in Africa.

FBI used subtle tack with Jefferson.  Details that have emerged in court over the past two weeks provide the fullest look yet of the first encounter between Jefferson and the FBI agents, details of which the congressman is now trying to keep from the eyes and ears of the jury that will hear his case, scheduled to start in February.

Jefferson called House counsel's office during raid.  Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) talked to the House general counsel's office for at least seven minutes and 51 seconds in the middle of an interview with FBI agents on the August morning in 2005 when his New Orleans home was raided, an FBI agent testified Wednesday [1/16/2008].  Agent Tim Thibault described the call as "outgoing," apparently a call Jefferson made on his cell phone during the middle of the FBI interview that began at 7 a.m. on Aug. 3, 2005.

Prosecutor subpoenas signal confidence in Jefferson court date.  Subpoenas requested this week by government attorneys suggest prosecutors expect Rep. William Jefferson's (D-La.) trial to go forward on schedule, despite his push to delay it.  The lead attorney prosecuting Jefferson earlier this week requested 10 subpoenas for witnesses to appear and testify on the first day of the trial, which is set for Jan. 16.

Testimony:  FBI Tracked Rep. Jefferson Since 1990s.  The FBI had information about potentially shady business deals involving a Louisiana congressman going back the late 1990s — at least eight years before he was indicted for taking bribes, an FBI agent testified Thursday [12/20/2007]. … The current investigation began in March 2005, when a prominent northern Virginia businesswoman, Lori Mody, approached the FBI and complained that she was being swindled in a business deal involving Jefferson and some of his associates.

[That explains why he is being tried in Virginia.]

Jefferson machine taking its last gasps.  Anyone who happened up pick up a Progressive Democrats ballot in their way to the polls Saturday might want to keep it, for posterity's sake.  This fall's election season could mark the beginning of the end for the once-mighty political organization, founded and ruled with an iron fist by embattled U.S. Rep. William Jefferson.

Judge rejects Louisiana congressman's motion.  A federal judge Friday [11/30/2007] rejected an attempt by a Louisiana congressman charged with taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to move his trial out of northern Virginia.  Rep. William J. Jefferson, D-La., had argued that the government unfairly brought charges against him in suburban Alexandria rather than the District of Columbia because it wanted a venue where fewer blacks are in the jury pool.

Jefferson tries to get case thrown out.  Who says lawyers aren't creative?  Attorneys for indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) are citing new Senate legislation designed to make it easier to prosecute corrupt pols as a reason to throw out parts of the bribery and corruption case against the lawmaker.

Jefferson Accused of Two More Schemes.  Federal prosecutors on Friday [11/16/2007] accused Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) of soliciting bribes in two alleged schemes that had not been previously disclosed.  The allegations, detailed in a seven-page document filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, will not result in new charges, prosecutors said, but they plan to present them during Jefferson's federal bribery trial as evidence of a pattern of intentional wrongdoing.

Jefferson Seeks to Dismiss Bribery Charges:  Jefferson's attorneys made no admission that he engaged in improper conduct, but one, Amy Jackson, argued that even if the government's allegations are true, they do not constitute bribery under federal law.

Jefferson wants trial moved out of Virginia.  Notably, the government argues, the investor who first contacted the FBI lives in northern Virginia; Jefferson flew several times to West Africa out of Dulles International Airport in Virginia; meetings occurred at restaurants in that state; and the nine-term congressman was filmed by the FBI accepting a briefcase with $100,000 in cash in a parking garage in Arlington, Va.

Firm tangled in Jefferson case received $450,000.  A company whose executives have been named by federal prosecutors as co-conspirators in the indictment of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) was awarded a $450,000 grant from a government agency that the congressman allegedly influenced, according to public records.  Federal prosecutors have named top executives of the Louisiana-based company, TDC Overseas Limited, as conspirators in the lawmaker's alleged bribery scheme involving business projects in Nigeria.

Nice try...

Defense:  Jefferson should be charged with influence peddling, not bribery.  A Louisiana congressman caught on tape accepting a $100,000 cash payment should not have been charged with bribery because the alleged conduct was more akin to influence peddling than actual bribery, defense lawyers argued Friday [10/12/2007].

Jefferson asks judge to toss 14 charges — And he wants trial moved to Washington.  Accusing the Bush Justice Department of mounting a bogus bribery case and employing race-based tactics, attorneys for Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, asked a federal judge Friday [9/7/2007] to throw out 14 of the 16 charges against the nine-term congressman and to move his trial to Washington, D.C., from northern Virginia.

Rep. William Jefferson Accuses Justice Department of Seeking Whiter Jury in Case Against Him.  Rep. William Jefferson accused the Justice Department of bringing corruption charges against him in Virginia to reduce the chance of drawing black jurors.  Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who has been charged in an international bribery case, made the argument Friday in federal court documents seeking to move the case to Washington.

The Editor says...
I smell another OJ Simpson trial approaching.

Prosecutors Lay Out Case Against Jefferson.  Before searching Rep. William J. Jefferson's New Orleans home in August 2005, FBI agents confronted him with a video that showed him accepting $100,000 from a government informant, according to a prosecution document filed yesterday [9/27/2007] in federal court in Alexandria.  Afterward, the Louisiana Democrat sank back into a couch in his living room and "with total dejection remarked 'what a waste,'" according to the government account, which did not elaborate on his comment.

Unsealed documents in Jefferson case reveal new details.  Newly unsealed documents in the federal bribery case against Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, describe a plan to steer profits to the son of the president of Ghana and a frantic effort to get the congressman to revive a lucrative deal in Nigeria as it appeared to unravel.

Jefferson, feds agree on sharing evidence.  Attorneys for Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, and the Justice Department have reached agreement on the disclosure of documents, evidence and witness lists for the federal corruption trial now scheduled for January.  Although the case is far from routine, producing the first-ever FBI raid of a congressman's office and the home of a foreign elected official, the agreement is typical for pretrial discovery in federal criminal trials.

Ex-FBI agent says the case against Rep. Jefferson is airtight.  A former FBI special agent who worked in the Clinton White House says the Justice Department was careful to cover all the bases before handing down a 16-count indictment against a popular member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Jefferson reveals loan.  Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) waited almost two years before notifying the House ethics committee of a loan he made to Vernon Jackson, the Kentucky businessman now in prison for bribing him, according to financial disclosures released yesterday.  The debt's late disclosure to Congress could further hobble Jefferson's defense when his case goes to trial in January and embolden the members in both parties calling for his resignation.

Group announces support for Jefferson.  Supporters of a Democratic congressman charged with bribery and money laundering harkened to their civil rights days on Wednesday as they denounced the allegations against U.S. Rep. William Jefferson.  "When it's all over, Bill Jefferson will stand up like Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver.  He will stand up in the South and he will be victorious," said the Rev. Samson "Skip" Alexander.

NRA foe Jefferson ordered to surrender his Guns.  When Rep.William Jefferson was arraigned on a boatload of corruption and racketeering charges on Friday, he was ordered to surrender his firearms.  Apparently, while the Louisiana Democrat stores his FBI-marked bribe money in his freezer in Washington, he stockpiles his collection of rifles and shotguns in his home in New Orleans. … You might ask yourself, what does a man who, in 2005, voted against a bill to protect law-abiding gun dealers and manufacturers from litigation blaming them for criminal misuse of their products by others, need with rifles?  Did he own them when he voted against similar law in 2003?

Rep. Jefferson Pleads Not Guilty.  Rep. William Jefferson pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of soliciting more than $500,000 in bribes while using his office to broker business deals in Africa.  Jefferson, D-La., said he understood the charges during the federal court hearing.  He was released on $100,000 bond.  A 94-page indictment, handed down Monday, details 11 separate bribery schemes and 16 criminal counts, including racketeering, soliciting bribes, wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Jefferson denies guilt in cash case.  Rep. William J. Jefferson, Louisiana Democrat, pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of bribery and corruption in his promotion of telecommunications equipment and services in Africa.  U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis accepted the plea during an arraignment in federal court in Alexandria and set a trial date of Jan. 16, as Mr. Jefferson's attorney, Robert Trout, promised a "vigorous" defense.  Mr. Jefferson, who faces 235 years in prison if convicted, was released on $100,000 bond with travel restrictions, including surrender of his passport.

House Moves Against Embattled Jefferson.  Monday's indictment of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) touched off an ethics battle in the House yesterday, with leaders from both parties moving quickly against Jefferson even as they accused each other of having no real interest in tighter ethics rules.  In short order, the House last night approved a Democratic motion that would make an ethics investigation automatic upon the indictment of any House member and then approved a Republican motion that could lead to Jefferson's expulsion.

Judge puts freeze on Jefferson's assets.  A federal judge Thursday froze the assets of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who was indicted this week on charges of soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.

Rep. Jefferson Indicted on Fraud, Bribery Counts.  Nine-term Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana was indicted Monday [6/4/2007] on 16 federal counts of bribery, fraud, racketeering and money laundering.  The indictment includes charges that he paid off a Nigerian official.  Almost two years ago, investigators found $90,000 in cash in Jefferson's freezer.

Rep. Jefferson indicted in bribery probe.  Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., was indicted Monday on federal charges of racketeering, money-laundering and soliciting more than $400,000 in bribes in connection with years of trying to broker business deals in Africa.

Indicted Lawmaker Always Fond of Cash.  The $90,000 the FBI says it found in Rep. William Jefferson's freezer wasn't the death knell of his political career.  The Louisiana Democrat still cruised to his ninth House term last year, propelled by hugs and kisses on the campaign trail from supporters who distinguished him from other politicians in only one respect:  He got caught.

Democrats Slow to Probe Jefferson Corruption Charges, GOP Says.  House Democrats who heralded a new age of ethics after winning a majority were slow to investigate one of their own, according to their Republican critics.  Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) — re-elected to a ninth term even after an FBI raid allegedly found $90,000 in his freezer during a large-scale corruption scandal — faces a prison sentence of more than 200 years if convicted on 16 counts including charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes and money laundering.

Jefferson demands return of raid's documents.  Attorneys for Democratic Rep. William Jefferson asked a federal appeals court Wednesday [2/28/2007] to force the Bush administration to return all documents that were seized during an FBI raid last year on the congressman's office.

Jefferson Saga Continues to Vex Democrats.  Since the news broke in 2005 that FBI agents found $90,000 in cash in the freezer of Rep. William J. Jefferson's home, House Democrats have not known quite what to do about the Louisiana lawmaker.  The latest embarrassment arose Wednesday, when Democrats delayed action on placing Jefferson on the Homeland Security Committee after Republicans said they would demand a recorded vote.

Rep. Jefferson:  From The Frying Pan....  Rep. William Jefferson now sits on the Homeland Security Committee.  How is someone unfit to deal with the nation's finances on Ways and Means qualified to deal with terror and classified intelligence?

Congressman Sued Over Firm's Collapse.  A former stockholder in a technology company sued a beleaguered congressman and a former business associate Tuesday [2/13/2007], claiming they bilked stockholders by using business funds to pay bribes.  The lawsuit alleges that Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., his wife and Vernon Jackson, former chief executive of the telecommunications firm iGate, schemed to funnel money to Jefferson, his family and foreign officials.

House Republicans will attempt to block Jefferson's assignment.  House Republicans plan to break recent precedent and attempt to block a resolution appointing Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) to a spot on the Homeland Security Committee when it comes to the floor for a vote, Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) indicated today [2/28/2007].  Blunt blasted Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for her endorsement of Jefferson for the Homeland Security Committee, calling the selection "ludicrous."

Republicans Set to Block Jefferson's Appointment to Homeland Security Panel.  Republicans plan to force a floor vote on Rep. William Jefferson's move to the Homeland Security Committee in an unprecedented maneuver to force Democrats to go on the record supporting their embattled colleague who is the target of a federal bribery investigation.

CBC wants Jefferson's seat restored.  The Congressional Black Caucus is planning to press Democratic leaders to reinstate Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) to the Ways and Means Committee, raising the thorny question of how leaders will handle the fate of Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), who has also come under ethical scrutiny.

Congressional Black Caucus gives Jefferson standing ovation.  On the same day that the 110th Democratic-led Congress convenes with a plan to immediately pass lobbyist and ethics reforms, the Congressional Black Caucus Thursday [1/4/2007] gave a standing ovation to Rep. William Jefferson, the Louisiana Democrat who faces an FBI probe into bribery allegations.

Jefferson political comeback a problem for Dems, delegation.  In a political comeback that's astounding even by Louisiana standards, Rep. William Jefferson began his ninth term in office last week trying to mend fences with fellow Democrats intent on cleaning up Congress.

Jefferson wins Louisiana runoff.  U.S. Rep. William Jefferson easily defeated a fellow Democrat in a runoff election Saturday, despite an ongoing federal bribery investigation.

Jefferson swarms back to win re-election.  Confounding political pundits and a slew of rivals who had become confident of his defeat, U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, neatly sidestepped a roiling federal corruption probe to win re-election on Saturday to his ninth term in Congress.

Pelosi May Give Jefferson a Lesser Committee Assignment.  House Democratic leaders, who have vowed to run a more ethical Congress, are struggling with how to respond to the reelection of Rep. William J. Jefferson, the Louisiana Democrat whose Washington home freezer once held $90,000 in alleged bribe money.

A Tale of Friendship, Ambition and Betrayal.  In July 2005, Vernon L. Jackson returned home to Louisville from Washington, where he had just met with Representative William J. Jefferson, the Louisiana Democrat who had been helping promote his fledgling digital-technology company.  David Harper, a lawyer for the company, said he had never seen Mr. Jackson so demoralized.

Voters choose between Jefferson, Carter today.  After a campaign punctuated by personal attacks, voters across most of New Orleans and sections of Jefferson Parish go to the polls today to choose between U.S. Rep. William Jefferson and state Rep. Karen Carter in the 2nd Congressional District.

Louisiana Democrat Incumbent Wins House Runoff.  U.S. Rep. William Jefferson easily defeated his fellow Democratic opponent in a runoff election Saturday [12/09/2006], despite an ongoing federal bribery investigation.  In complete but unofficial returns, Jefferson, Louisiana's first black congressman since Reconstruction, received 57 percent of the vote over state Rep. Karen Carter, who had 43 percent.  Carter was unable to capitalize on a scandal that included allegations the FBI found $90,000 in bribe money in Jefferson's freezer.

Another disappointment from the Black Caucus:  The way in which Jefferson has handled himself during this episode, and the support he has gotten from a number of his Black Caucus colleagues, is an embarrassment and demonstrates, once again, the sore need for a new kind of black leadership in Washington.  Jefferson should have taken the high road and voluntarily relinquished his committee seat.  The fact that he didn't, the fact that the Congressional Black Caucus leadership supported his decision to resist Nancy Pelosi's request that he step aside, and the fact that the caucus chose to insert a racial dimension to these events, seriously undermines the credibility of black leadership.

Scandal Woes Could Benefit Jefferson, Analysts Say.  "Oftentimes, being an embattled Louisiana politician can actually be a benefit," said Pearson Cross, assistant professor of political science at the University of Louisiana Lafayette.  "If anything, I think voters in the state's 2nd District are going to see him as 'put upon,' that he was unfairly stripped, and I'm certain he's going to spin it that way."

Jefferson calls Democratic caucus' decision 'unprecedented and unfair'.  A statement made by Congressman William Jefferson responding to the House Democratic vote to suspend him from the House Ways and Means committee.

House Dems Strip Jefferson of His Assignment.  House Democrats, determined to make an election-year point about ethics, voted to strip Rep. William Jefferson of his committee assignment Thursday night [6/15/2006] while a federal bribery investigation runs its course.

House takes away Jefferson committee seat.  The House voted Friday [6/16/2006] to take away besieged Rep. William Jefferson's committee seat, then dispatched its own lawyers to join him in court to seek the return of documents seized in a federal bribery probe.  Both the political punishment and the legal case appeared to be without precedent.  Jefferson has not been charged with a crime, and officials said last month's FBI search of his congressional office was a first.

Jefferson showdown hurts only Democrats.  This is a fight that shouldn't happen.  When the House Democratic Caucus meets Thursday [6/15/2006] to decide whether Louisiana's Rep. William Jefferson should be stripped of his seat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, members of the Congressional Black Caucus are expected to mount a bruising defense of their colleague.

Meet William Jefferson's Political Supporters.  Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana is currently under investigation by the FBI for allegedly taking bribes from a company seeking business in Nigeria and, as I reported last week, the feds are apparently also looking at his ties to São Tomé and to some Americans doing business in that African country.

When Race Loyalty Asks Too Much.  Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus have raised the bloody shirt of racism in defense of their embattled colleague Rep. William Jefferson.  I appreciate their sense of loyalty to a friend, but Jefferson hasn't given them much to work with.

Concern About Search by FBI Is Bipartisan.  In a rare display of bipartisan solidarity, Republican congressional leaders rose to the defense Tuesday [5/23/2006] of a Democratic congressman who is the subject of a bribery investigation, accusing the Justice Department of improperly searching his Capitol Hill office.

Former Aide To Jefferson Gets 8 Years.  A federal judge sentenced Brett Pfeffer, a former aide to Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), to eight years in prison and a $24,000 fine yesterday [5/26/2006] for bribing the lawmaker, saying, "It would be difficult to overstate the seriousness of this offense."

A Real Culture of Corruption.  What a moment for the Congressional Black Caucus to make a stand. … But Jefferson is black.  So his allies naturally turn to the race card to defend him, even if it means playing it against Pelosi, about whom many critical things can be said — but not that she's a racist.

FBI Raid on Lawmaker's Office Is Questioned.  An unusual FBI raid of a Democratic congressman's office over the weekend prompted complaints yesterday [5/22/2006] from leaders in both parties, who said the tactic was unduly aggressive and may have breached the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government.

Jefferson calls FBI search 'outrageous'.  Rep. William J. Jefferson said yesterday [5/22/2006] that the FBI's weekend search of his office was "outrageous" and insisted that he is not guilty, despite court documents that say he was videotaped accepting $100,000 during a bribery investigation.  "There are two sides to every story.  There are certainly two sides to this story," said Mr. Jefferson, Louisiana Democrat.

F.B.I. Contends Lawmaker Hid Bribe in Freezer.  The F.B.I. accused Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, on Sunday [5/23/2006] of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Kentucky businessman and stashing $90,000 from the scheme in his home freezer in Washington.

FBI Says Jefferson Was Filmed Taking Cash.  Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), the target of a 14-month public corruption probe, was videotaped accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from a Northern Virginia investor who was wearing an FBI wire, according to a search warrant affidavit released yesterday [5/21/2006].  A few days later, on Aug. 3, 2005, FBI agents raided Jefferson's home in Northeast Washington and found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers, the document said.

F.B.I. Contends Lawmaker Hid Bribe in Freezer.  The F.B.I. accused Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, on Sunday [5/21/2006] of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Kentucky businessman and stashing $90,000 from the scheme in his home freezer in Washington.

FBI search OK with Brown-Waite.  U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, went against her own party leader by speaking out in favor of the FBI's search of Rep. William Jefferson's Capitol Hill office.

Jefferson Probe Includes Other Suspected Schemes.  The FBI is focusing on at least eight different suspected bribery schemes as part of its corruption probe of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), according to a federal affidavit and sources familiar with the investigation.  A key part of the FBI probe has centered around Jefferson's dealings with a Louisville high-tech company, iGate Inc., that was marketing broadband technology for the Internet and cable television in Africa.

Jefferson Doesn't Address Alleged Facts in Bribery Probe.  Federal agents entered Jefferson's office on Capitol Hill Saturday night [5/20/2006] and Sunday to search for evidence of wire fraud and bribery, including bribery of a foreign official, according to court documents.  Jefferson is under investigation for allegedly helping an American Internet company called iGate do business with Nigeria and Ghana.

FBI Raid on Jefferson Was Justified, Legal Group Claims.  A legal watchdog group insists that the FBI's recent raid of Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson's office was perfectly legal, despite the subsequent complaints about the raid by both Republican and Democratic leaders of the House.  "Nowhere in the Constitution is there immunity from investigation for members of Congress.  It just isn't there," said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center.

The "Culture of corruption" spreads beyond party lines.  FBI raids of Jefferson's DC and Louisiana homes had already uncovered a great deal of evidence, including the now-famous $90,000 in the freezer.  And apparently Jefferson had refused to honor subpoenas for the documents that the FBI eventually raided his congressional office to find.

Cold cash:  If you keep $90,000 in greenbacks inside your freezer, it is reasonably guessed that you had some reason to keep them there instead of at your bank.  It is possible to imagine a situation in which the freezer turned out to be the best place to put the stuff — say, a fire threatened your apartment — but the protagonist hasn't given this reason to his constituents, who are skeptical.

Downfall of Democrat with $90,000 in freezer.  Perhaps they will home in on the half-million dollar bribe, offered to an African official "to motivate him real good".  An alternative could be the note, bearing the word "cash", written to avoid Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) listening devices.  Or there is the small matter of the $90,000 (£48,000), carefully wrapped in aluminium foil and hidden in plastic food containers within Congressman William Jefferson's freezer.

For deals, Rep. Jefferson built web of firms.  As court records, sworn affidavits, plea agreements and search warrants attest, it was quite a deal, one of several involving at least seven business entities, nearly a dozen family members and hundreds of thousands of dollars sloshing through bank accounts, all for Jefferson's personal benefit.

Aide says Jefferson cooked up scheme.  A former aide to U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, said Friday [5/26/2006] that it was the congressman's idea to solicit bribes to promote a telecommunications deal in West Africa that began as a legitimate business venture.

Congress finds its backbone — in the freezer.  Rep. William J. Jefferson appears to be that one-in-a-million rarity, like a buffalo nickel or a four-leaf clover:  a corrupt Louisiana politician. … The New Orleans Democrat was caught on video allegedly taking a $100,000 bribe from an FBI informant (and allegedly demanding further bribes), and a subsequent search revealed $90,000 in his freezer.  That's a lot of crawdads.

For Democrats, a Scandal of Their Own.  Democrats' plans to make Republican corruption a theme of their election strategy this year have been complicated by accusations of wrongdoing in their own ranks, leading the party to try on Monday to blunt the political effects of the unfolding case against Representative William J. Jefferson.

Jefferson defense fund hits $119,000.  U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, has raised $119,000 for his legal defense fund.  Some of his contributors are politically connected. … Liberty Bank and Trust Co. of New Orleans contributed $5,000 to the fund.

Report says Jefferson has ties with Nigerian.  The corruption investigation of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., has uncovered ties between Jefferson and Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar.  Abubakar, 59, is a wealthy businessman and one of the leading candidates in next year's race for president of Nigeria, The Washington Post reported.

Jefferson promises he has 'an honorable explanation'.  Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, said Tuesday [6/6/2006] that there is "an honorable explanation" for the damaging scenario being painted by the federal government in the federal bribery probe targeting him, and he again denied breaking any laws.

What's Really Going On In the William Jefferson Fight.  One of the issues at the core of the dispute appears to be the demands for electronic records in the Justice Department's subpoena.  It is one thing to demand specific paper documents, and the subpoena has a long (but redacted) list of particular items to be seized.  But it is another thing to take the entire hard drive from a computer, which will inevitably contain more information than just that listed by the subpoena.

Are you aware that deleted computer files can be recovered?

The interpretation battle:  There was one prominent Democrat caught with his fist in the till, William Jefferson (of frozen bucks fame), but instead of offering him up as evidence that corruption is bipartisan, the Republican leadership threw a protective arm over Jefferson's shoulder, indignantly denouncing the FBI for searching his office.  In so doing, they made his scandal their own.

Unbowed Jefferson Keeps Up the Fight.  At a barbershop in the Third Ward, in an area still woozy from Hurricane Katrina's knockout punch, the chatter was about what to do with Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.).  "He's got my vote.  I like Jefferson," shop owner Charles Harris said as he finished up a haircut.  "They haven't indicted him, number one.  Whenever they come up with some concrete evidence, that might change things."

Democrat refuses to let FBI inquiry stop him.  They line up to kiss him, hug him, slap hands, give him their blessing.  William Jefferson, an eight-term House Democrat enmeshed in an FBI bribery investigation, is feeling good about his re-election prospects.

Other related news:

Mose Jefferson jury hears FBI tapes.  Jefferson, the older brother and political confidant of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, who was convicted last week on unrelated corruption charges, is accused of giving Brooks-Simms three checks totaling $140,000 after the Orleans Parish School Board voted twice to buy a computer-based algebra tutorial, spending a total of more than $13 million.

Mose Jefferson convicted on four counts in bribery trial.  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.

Mose Jefferson is denied a change of venue.  Mose Jefferson hobbled into federal court Monday afternoon [9/27/2010], complaining of a hernia that is going untreated by his caretakers at the St. Bernard jail, as he awaits a second trial over corruption charges that could send his one-time girlfriend, former City Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt to prison as well.

Which party has a "Culture of Corruption"?

Document location
Updated December 5, 2017.

©2017 by Andrew K. Dart