The William Jefferson Chronicles

Jefferson Jury Hears Profanity-Laced Call
By Jordan Weissmann

William Jefferson worried that his business dealings with a small technology company would land him in prison if they became public, a key government witness testified today during the former congressman's trial on corruption charges.

Jurors listened to a profanity-laced phone call in which Jefferson said he and iGate CEO Vernon Jackson would "end up in the goddamned pokey" if they angered one of the company's chief investors. During the call, Jackson had suggested replacing Virginia businesswoman Lori Mody, with whom he had a strained relationship. Jackson said he had found a new backer willing to step into her place. Jefferson called the idea "crazy," adding, "Lori's going to be filing suits."

After the tape played, Jackson told the jury he believed that Jefferson was worried that a lawsuit would expose the congressman's own relationship with iGate, which was not "aboveboard." Jackson pleaded guilty in 2006 to bribing Jefferson, using sham consulting agreements to hide his payments.

At the time of the conversation, unbeknownst to Jackson and Jefferson, Mody was already cooperating with the FBI.

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