Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 17, 2013

Prospect of prison looms for ex-Rep., wife

(Continued)

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum statutory penalty of up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and other penalties. U.S. District Judge Robert L. Wilkins is assigned to the case.

Tom Kirsch, an attorney for Jackson’s wife said she has signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors and would plead guilty to one tax count.

Kirsch said his client and her husband have supported each other. He said the ordeal has been stressful for Sandi Jackson, but she “expected to be held responsible ... and wants to put (it) behind her and her family.”

The charge against Sandi Jackson carries a maximum of three-year prison sentence. But Kirsch says the agreement “does not contemplate a sentence of that length.”

The court papers said that Jackson filed false financial reports with the U.S. House of Representatives in an attempt to conceal his and his wife’s conversion of campaign funds for their personal benefit.

A black and red cashmere cape cost $1,500, a mink reversible parka cost $1,200 and a black fox reversible cost $1,500, prosecutors wrote.

Jackson’s resignation ended a once-promising political career tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions to raise campaign funds for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for appointment — which never came — to President Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat. The House Ethics Committee, which no longer has any power over Jackson, may choose to issue a report on the matter.

Jackson denied any wrongdoing in the Blagojevich matter. But the suspicions, along with revelations that he had had an extramarital affair, derailed any aspirations for higher political office. It wasn’t clear from the court papers whether the woman with whom he had the affair was among the half dozen people identified the documents by letters of the alphabet rather than by their names.

Since last June, Jackson has been hospitalized twice at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues, and he stayed out of the public eye for months, even during the November elections.

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