Friday, June 08, 2007

Jefferson pleads not guilty

No big surprise here:

Rep. William Jefferson pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of soliciting more than $500,000 in bribes while using his office to broker business deals in Africa.

Jefferson, D-La., said he understood the charges during the federal court hearing. He was released on $100,000 bond.

This might indicate he doesn't plan to resign, but it doesn't preclude the possibility. Several Republicans initially refused to resign, only to change their mind as they witnessed the political damage to their party, the unlikelihood of their re-election, their diminished political power, and the difficulty in handling the business of Congress while dealing with a criminal investigation.

The real bad news is that his trial isn't scheduled to begin until January. So unless he resigns we've got another six months worth of "Jefferson still in Congress" to look forward to.

Update: Jefferson says the money in his freezer was part of an "http://www.myfoxkc.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=3437146&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=3.3.1">FBI sting operation. This leaves me a bit confused. Let's say he claims he was cooperating with the FBI. In that case we're supposed to believe they gave him the money, then raided his home and arrested him for having it. And if he wasn't cooperating, why did he take the $90,000 and hide it in his freezer?

If Jefferson's lawyer is worth any money at all, he'll tell Jefferson to shut up about the case from now on. Though I hope Jefferson ignores the advice.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The timing of the trial is really good news for Republicans. Puts it closer to the election. The Jefferson criminal indictment and details will be fresh on everyone's mind. Any comments the Dems make in his defense or support will probably show up in ads later that fall.

JP5

6/08/2007 1:48 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Agreed: I think it helps the Republicans politically. But it will have a major impact only if they can successfully use it to tar Dems in general. That will be pretty tough. Especially because the Dems can be expected to take firm action upon conviction: immediate expulsion unless he resigns first. They will not allow Jefferson to pull a Ney, hanging on for weeks and weeks.

6/08/2007 1:53 PM  
Blogger Not Your Mama said...

Unfortunately I don't think this clown cares one iota about the party, only his own hide.

Best case scenario is they put enough pressure on him he gets uncomfortable enough to cave in and resign.

6/08/2007 2:44 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

What do you wanna bet Jefferson doesn't get many earmarks approved? And is otherwise pointedly made to feel powerless and unwelcome?

Maybe it would make him so mad at his fellow Democrats that he would switch parties in retaliation....

6/08/2007 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, here's a new one. Jefferson just spoke on CNN about the $90,000 found in his freezer. He says.....it is the FBI's money. He says the FBI gave it to him to make a bribe; but he didn't.

Oh geez. So, I guess he was just keeping it.....cold....for them?? Hilarious.

JP5

6/08/2007 3:17 PM  

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