Ex-Rep. Jefferson to start serving sentence by May 4
A former Louisiana congressman who was caught with $90,000 in cash hidden in his freezer will have to begin serving a 13-year bribery sentence within the next two weeks, a judge ruled today. William Jefferson, a Democrat who represented parts of New Orleans for nearly 20 years, was convicted and sentenced in 2009 for taking roughly $500,000 in bribes and seeking millions more in exchange for using his influence to broker business deals in Africa. He has since been free on bond, living in New Orleans while appealing his conviction. Last month, though, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., upheld all but one of the 11 counts on which he was convicted, including bribery, money laundering and racketeering. At a status hearing today in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Judge T. S. Ellis III ordered Jefferson, 65, to turn himself in to U.S. Marshals by May 4 to serve the sentence. Jefferson's lawyer, Robert Trout, and prosecutor Mark Lytle had both agreed that, following the appeals court's unanimous ruling, the time had come for Jefferson to begin serving his time. Trout's only request was that Jefferson be designated to a prison camp in Pensacola, Fla., not far from his family. The judge agreed to recommend a camp near New Orleans but declined to recommend a specific site to the Bureau of Prisons. You can see a video of Jefferson taking a $100,000 bribe and read the full story from The Associated Press here.
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