The William Jefferson Chronicles

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson Convicted of Bribery
After five days of deliberation, a federal jury in Virginia today found former Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) guilty of soliciting bribes.

Jurors handed down guilty verdicts on 11 of 16 counts, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Prosecutors had accused Jefferson of accepting $456,000 in kickbacks in return for using his congressional clout to set up business deals in Africa.

Jefferson’s case made national headlines in 2005 when FBI agents raided the congressman’s home and discovered $90,000 stashed in a freezer. Notably, the jury acquitted Jefferson on the one count related to that money — a charge that he had conspired to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Jefferson could face a maximum sentence of 150 years in prison. That scenario is unlikely, however, as it would mean being sentenced to serve time on each count consecutively.

The jury will reconvene tomorrow to decide whether Jefferson’s family must forfeit the $456,000 and related stock.

Back to article index