What Happened with Rep. William Jefferson’s Indictment?
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
Many Americans are wondering when will the US Justice Department get around to prosecuting US Congressman William J. Jefferson for the alleged corruption he’s perpetrated while in office.
Jefferson, a Democrat from Louisiana, was indicted last year by a federal grand jury on charges including bribery and racketeering for allegedly using his office to corruptly solicit bribes and for paying bribes to a foreign official, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and US Attorney Chuck Rosenberg for the Eastern District of Virginia announced during a press conference.
The 16-count indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, VA, charges Jefferson with solicitation of bribes, honest services wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, racketeering, and conspiracy.
The indictment alleges that from about August 2000 through August 2005, Jefferson, while serving as an elected member of the US House of Representatives, used his position and his office to corruptly seek, solicit and direct that things of value be paid to Jefferson and his family members in exchange for his performance of official acts to advance the interests of people and businesses who offered him the bribes.
The things of value allegedly sought and/or received by Jefferson on behalf of his business interests and relatives included hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bribes in the form of payments from monthly fees or retainers, consulting fees, percentage shares of revenues and profits, flat fees for items sold, and stock ownership in the companies seeking his official assistance.
The official acts allegedly undertaken by Jefferson included leading official business delegations to Africa, corresponding with US and foreign government officials, and utilizing congressional staff members to promote businesses and businesspersons. Business ventures that Congressman Jefferson sought to promote included: telecommunications deals in Nigeria, Ghana, and elsewhere; oil concessions in Equatorial Guinea; satellite transmission contracts in Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo; and development of different plants and facilities in Nigeria.
As it is alleged, Congressman Jefferson violated the public’s trust and used his official position and office as a RICO enterprise to corruptly solicit bribes, to pay off a foreign official, and to illegally benefit from overseas business transactions during a five-year period.
Jefferson also corruptly sought bribes from an individual identified in the indictment as a Cooperating Witness (CW) to be paid to family members. The indictment alleges, for example, that Jefferson required 5 percent to 7 percent of the CW’s newly formed Nigerian company be given to members of Jefferson’s family in exchange for his assistance. Jefferson allegedly made the request of the CW in December 2004 during a meeting in a congressional dining room.
The indictment further alleges that Jefferson violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by allegedly offering, promising and making payments to a foreign official to advance the various business endeavors in which he and his family had financial interest. Jefferson was allegedly responsible for negotiating, offering and delivering payments of bribes to the official identified in the indictment as “Nigerian Official A.”
On or before Aug. 3, 2005, at his residence in Washington, DC, Jefferson allegedly secreted in his freezer $90,000 of the $100,000 in cash provided by the CW as part of the front-end bribe payment to Nigerian Official A. The cash was separated into $10,000 increments, wrapped in aluminum foil, and concealed inside various frozen food containers.
According to Justice Department officials, Jefferson faces a maximum of 235 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
The question is: When will the Attorney General get around to actually prosecuting Jefferson? What’s delaying his detention and trial? The man continues to hold office with all its perks, yet the DOJ appears hesitant to move forward with their prosecution of a flagrantly corrupt lawmaker.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.