|Court refuses to take up Rep. William Jefferson's appeal|
by Bruce Alpert, The
Friday December 12, 2008, 10:50 AM
WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court today refused to take up Rep. William Jefferson's appeal of a ruling that rejected his request to throw out most of the corruption charges pending against him.
The full 4th U.s. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., in a one-paragraph statement, said it circulated the request from Jefferson's lawyers, but that no one on the court requested a poll of all the 11 justices. That indicated no one on the court was inclined to take up the appeal.
The New Orleans Democrat had argued that the Virginia grand jury, which indicted him in June 2007, had heard testimony about his congressional activities in violation of a separation of powers clause in the Constitution.
The trial judge for the case, T.S. Ellis III, had rejected the argument and a three-judge panel for the 4th Circuit sustained Ellis' ruling.
Jefferson can now ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the issue.
Ellis scheduled a status hearing for Jan. 15, when he might set a trial date for Jefferson.
Jefferson is accused of demanding, and in some cases, accepting payments to family owned businesses in return for his help securing contracts for U.S. businesses in Western Africa, mostly Nigeria.. Jefferson maintains his innocence.