Jesse Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty this morning in federal court to a criminal conspiracy charge.
The details are just coming out of what happened in court, via NBC News:
Former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. on Wednesday pleaded guilty in federal court to misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds.
Jackson acknowledged the charges against him, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements, and agreed to plead guilty per a plea deal he signed and was filed last week.
The charges require a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and an order of restitution. Because Jackson accepted responsibility, he is elligible for a lesser sentence of between 46 to 57 months and a fine between $10,000 to $100,000.
“I’m not bound by the sentencing guidelines,” Judge Robert Wilkins said, noting he cannot go beyond the maximum of 5 years. “The sentencing guidelines are advisory, and they are something I am bound to consider.”
This is Jackson Jr.’s first public appearance since taking medical leave last summer for treatment of bi-polar disorder. He entered the courtroom holding hands with his wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, who also is expected to plead guilty to falsifying her tax returns and reporting less income than she made. Others in the court include his father, Rev. Jesse Jackson; brothers Jonathan and Yusef; sister, Santita; and Sandi Ja’s sister Tina.
When asked if Jackson Jr. whether his hospitalization for bi-polar disorder affected his ability to understand the charges, he responded, “I fully understand the consequences of my actions.
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According to The Chicago Tribune, sentencing is not expected for several weeks.