Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. reported AWOL after release from Mayo Clinic
Rumored plea deal includes resignation and jail time; wife also under Fed investigation.
ABOVE PHOTO: Jesse Jackson Jr.
The Jesse Jackson Jr. story continues to have more twists and turns than a mountain road.
The latest chapter is that he has been released from the Mayo Clinic, but is now AWOL according to a published report.
Could it be because he may have to go to jail for possible misuse of campaign funds? This includes charges that the congressman used the alleged ill gotten gains to redecorate his Washington, D. C. home, and possibly buy a $40,000 Rolex for a female friend.
Jackson Jr.'s wife, Chicago's 7th Ward Alderman Sandi Jackson, is also under federal investigation for criminal charges that she assisted her husband in using campaign funds to redecorate their Washington D.C. home, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
In any event, here's what the Atlantic Wire is reporting:
We thought that there was a possibility he was going to show up in Washington since the House of Representatives was set to convene yesterday evening. Well, he wasn't there either.
"The congressman's Washington-based spokesman Frank Watkins said Jackson had not checked into his Washington office," reports Sarah Burnett of the AP, who added, "And two of Jackson's Illinois colleagues in the Black Congressional Caucus — Reps. Danny Davis and Bobby Rush — said through spokeswomen that they had not heard from him."
And it gets even more puzzling as his father, Jesse Jackson, has told some media outlets that he's still actually at The Mayo Clinic reports Burnett. That means that someone's lying. Jackson's disappearance coincides with an ongoing federal probe into allegations of misusing campaign funds to decorate his house, an alleged plea deal for said campaign funds, and just yesterday the Huffington Post reported that the campaign finances probe was expanded to include his wife Sandi.
The embattled politician is represented by a former US attorney who is negotiating with the federal government.
The plea deal would end Jackson's 17-year career as a congressman representing Chicago's South Side and suburbs.
At the center of negotiations is white-collar criminal defense attorney Dan Webb, who served as Chicago's top federal prosecutor in the 1980s, when several Cook County judges were indicted for public corruption under the "Operation Greylord" investigation.
Webb, the chairman of Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago, has been the point person for Jackson in talks with the U.S. Justice Department in Washington.
The tentative deal includes:
- Jackson resigning for health reasons.
- His pleading guilty to charges involving misuse of campaign funds.
- Some jail time
- The congressman's repayment of any contributions that were converted to personal use, such as home furnishings, improper travel or gifts
Rep. Jackson left the Mayo Clinic Tuesday after his second treatment for bipolar disorder there since he took a leave of absence in June.
Mayo spokesman Nick Hanson said he did not know where Jackson was going after he left the Minnesota hospital.
Jackson returned to the hospital in October amid reports that he faced a new federal investigation into potential misuse of his campaign finances.
He remains under a U.S. House committee's investigation into his dealings with imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Nonetheless, Jackson was elected Nov. 6 to a ninth full term representing his Chicago area district, despite his not campaigning and barely appearing in public since taking medical leave in June.
Jackson was treated at the Mayo Clinic last summer for bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues. After he returned to the hospital, his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said his son had not yet "regained his balance."
On Tuesday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn became the latest elected official to urge Jackson to talk to the public about his condition. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called on Jackson on Monday to "have a conversation with his constituents about his intentions" now that the election is over.
Associated press and Atlantic Wire contributed to this story.
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