Monday, May 22, 2006

Congressman videotaped accepting bribes

Yesterday, details of the bribery case against Rep. William Jefferson were leaked to the media.

Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), the target of a 14-month public corruption probe, was videotaped accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from a Northern Virginia investor who was wearing an FBI wire, according to a search warrant affidavit released yesterday.

A few days later, on Aug. 3, 2005, FBI agents raided Jefferson's home in Northeast Washington and found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers, the document said.

Whoops. That sure doesn't look good. They've got confessions, videotape, audio recordings and cash stashed in the freezer.

Jefferson's lawyer is understandably outraged about the leak of 9-month-old records -- there is clearly a political motive there. But it's hard to claim the info is not newsworthy, and it's pretty damning. Jefferson deserves his trial, of course. But if the FBI has this much evidence, it's an open and shut case.

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