by Staff and wire reports
Tuesday July 07, 2009, 12:30 PM
FBI surveillance photoGovernment surveillance photo
shows former Rep. William Jefferson, left, Virginia businesswoman Lori
Mody, and former Jefferson aide Brett Pfeffer leaving the Export-Import
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A federal jury has seen video of a former Congressman
William Jefferson accepting a suitcase filled with $100,000 in cash
outside a northern Virginia hotel.
The videos played today are a key piece of evidence in the bribery trial
of the Democrat who represented the New Orleans area for nine terms.
He's accused of accepting more than $400,000 in bribes to broker
business deals in Africa.
The FBI recorded the pickup from four different angles, all of which
were shown to the jury.
According to the 16-count indictment against Jefferson, on July 30,
2005, in a parking lot outside the Ritz Carlton in Arlington, Va., he
accepted a briefcase from Virginia businesswoman Lori Mody with $100,000
in bills marked by the FBI. That money, the prosecution maintains, was
the down payment on a bribe to Atiku Abubakar, then vice president of
On the video, Jefferson seemed wary of accepting the money in public.
When asked by Mody if he wanted to peek inside the suitcase at the
contents, he tersely replied, "No, I would not."
However, when FBI agents raided Jefferson's homes in Washington and New
Orleans on Aug. 3, 2005, and the Abubakar home in Potomac, Md., they
found $90,000 of the money, undelivered, safely stored away in the
freezer of Jefferson's Capitol Hill home.
Jefferson's attorneys have said he had no intention of bribing anyone
and the money was put in the freezer for safe-keeping. About half of the
remaining $10,000 was accounted for as a loan made to a Jefferson
staffer; the remainder was returned to the federal government.