Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Former Democratic Congressman William Jefferson found guilty on 11 of 16 counts
ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Former Democratic Congressman William Jefferson was found guilty of 11 of 16 corruption charges today by a federal jury.
The jury of eight women and four men returned a guilty verdict following five days of deliberation.
In the 16-count indictment, 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, who represented the New Orleans-based 2nd Congressional District for nine terms, will now face sentencing 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, and will still face substantial prison time.
The verdict comes four years after the Aug. 3, 2005 raids of Jefferson's homes in New Orleans and Washington, D.C., in which the FBI found $90,000 in cash hidden in the freezer of his D.C. home, money the government said Jefferson was going to deliver as a bribe to Atiku Abubakar, then vice president of Nigeria, to gain his help with a telecommunications deal in Nigeria being pursued by Lori Mody, a Northern Virginia businesswoman.