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4th Circuit Upholds the Sentencing on Jefferson for Bribery and Money-laundering
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Former Congressman William Jefferson (Democrat) suffered a democratic setback when according to due process of law and the powers granted by the Constitution, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit found on Monday that he was guilty of 10 counts of bribery and money-laundering.

The former Congressman from New Orleans who firmly believed in the principle of ‘cold cash’ to the extent of stashing $90, 000 wrapped in foil in his freezer, was accused in 2007 of making millions of dollars in bribes from companies while exploiting his position to broker business deals in Africa.

Jefferson found the accusations profoundly undemocratic and argued that the trial court had erred in holding that ‘customary practices’ of public officials outside the ambit of specific legal duties of Congress members like voting or introducing law, could be construed as ‘official acts.’

  
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However, the appeals court failed to grasp the depth of his logic and summarily rejected it.

Judge Robert King, wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel: “There was, in this case, an ongoing course of illicit and repugnant conduct by Jefferson – conduct for which he was compensated considerably by those on whose behalf he was acting.”

Jefferson, however, argued that his convictions on the matter of honest services fraud was based on a theory ( of failing to disclose a conflict of interest) now invalidated by the Supreme Court decision against former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling in 2010 where the court held that honest services fraud was limited only to bribery and kickback schemes.
However, the 4th Circuit held that even under the new law, the outcome would be the same, as Jefferson was also found guilty of bribery.

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Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement that “The American people expect and deserve corrupt public officials to be held accountable, and that is exactly what has happened in this case.”

Jefferson, who served as a member of the Congress since 1991, had acknowledged that he had made mistakes in judgment that he regretted when first confronted with his crimes. However he denied trading official acts for money, a position he still holds, insisting that ‘official acts’ of Congressmen are limited to voting and legislative acts, while receiving bribes and money-laundering are not done officially, but are ‘customary practices’ of public officials.



Cheers.



 

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