The William Jefferson Chronicles

Jefferson Day 3: Cross-Examination Begins
After two and half days of detailed testimony, defense lawyers for ex-Rep. William Jefferson got their first crack at cross-examining one of the key witnesses for the government this afternoon.

In an often tense exchange, defense attorney Robert Trout, name partner of Trout Cacheris, set out to quiz Vernon Jackson, the Louisville entrepreneur who pleaded guilty in 2006 to bribing Jefferson. Jackson had been on the stand Tuesday describing precisely how his company, iGate, used fake consulting agreements as cover for payments to the congressman’s family.

But during Trout’s questioning, which spanned events reaching back a decade, Jackson’s memory suddenly seemed to become a bit clouded.

In one of his opening questions, Trout asked Jackson how many times he had been interviewed by the FBI. Jackson couldn’t remember. Had it been more than seven times, Trout asked? “I don’t recall,” Jackson said.

Those words quickly became a refrain. Jackson didn’t recall whether he first met Jefferson at a Chicago trade show in 2000. He couldn’t remember what he had discussed at a dinner with Jefferson and his wife, Andrea Jefferson, whose company, A Group, he hired to promote iGate. He did recall dining with the couple on a gambling boat, however.

He couldn’t recall whether, in January of 2001, he had spoken to Jefferson about meeting with foreign leaders.

When Jackson said he couldn’t remember receiving a copy of an A Group brochure, Trout probed further.

“Do you not recall it, or are you saying it didn’t happen?” he asked.

“I don’t recall it. So apparently it didn’t happen, at least from my perspective,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s memory did improve once events got closer to the present, and Trout’s questions turned to contracts.

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