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Congressman William Jefferson Pleads Not Guilty to Bribery Charges

What will his defense be?

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - 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 unsecured bond.

"I am absolutely innocent of the charges that have been leveled against me," Jefferson said afterward. "I'm going to fight my heart out to clear my name."

But it's so complex, you see, that Jefferson is waiving his right to a speedy trial. However, the prosecutor seems to think he's got a pretty good case against Jefferson:

The charges came almost two years after investigators raided Jefferson's home in Washington and found $90,000 in cash stuffed in a box in his freezer.


During Friday's hearing, prosecutor Mark Lytle said the government had compiled evidence filling eight file cabinets and had extensive tape recordings.

He's got to be desperate to drag this thing out for as long as he can.


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Comments (46)

Maybe he's hoping to make i... (Below threshold)

Maybe he's hoping to make it to 2009 and a presidential pardon?

Falze, that is EXACTLY what... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Falze, that is EXACTLY what he is hoping for!

Either that or hoping he can dig up evidence that OTHER people have mysteriously found wads of cash in THEIR frozen food!! [p.s. my wife and I tore our freezer apart and STILL couldn't find one penny!! *sigh*]

"He's got to be desperat... (Below threshold)

"He's got to be desperate to drag this thing out for as long as he can."

Dragging it out isn't indicative of desperation or not - nor is "waiving his right to a speedy trial" - red herrings.

I suspect he's facing serious jail time, so dragging this out keeps him out of jail that much longer. Scooter Pie Libby is trying to drag his eventual trip to prison out through appeals, expect Jefferson to do the same.

"I am absolutely innocent o... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

"I am absolutely innocent of the charges that have been leveled against me,"

You see, being a Democrat means you have the right to be as corrupt as you can be, tell lies without end and not be held accountable. Slaps on the wrist is cruel and unual punishment for these criminal girly men.

What is needed is to stand them with a rope dangling in front of them. Maybe that will scare the treason out of them. Probably too late for that since it has become part of the standard opperating procedures handbook.

Does William Jefferson know... (Below threshold)

Does William Jefferson know that Johnny Cochran is dead? Does he therefore know that "The Chewbacca Defense" is unavailable to him?

Sounds to me like he's likely to take up the option of a jury trial, which means he thinks we Americans are truly, deeply stupid. I hope they rise to the occasion and convict his sorry, lying a** (& won't he be surprised when they do)!

LEe, pretty well thought ou... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

LEe, pretty well thought out, except if he's dragging it out to avoid what he sees as almost-inevitable jail time, then yes, it is a desperation move.

Rob LA Ca.:<bl... (Below threshold)

Rob LA Ca.:

What is needed is to stand them with a rope dangling in front of them. Maybe that will scare the treason out of them.

Considering that Jefferson is black, it's in rather poor taste to be employing the imagery of lynching when proposing punishment!

Hanging is too good for tha... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Hanging is too good for that lying SOB. Waterboard him and get the truth out, lock him up and throw the key away.

The race card gets played i... (Below threshold)
La Mano:

The race card gets played in ....9......8......7......6.........

"which means he thinks w... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"which means he thinks we Americans are truly, deeply stupid"

He was re-elected last fall. IF the jury is made up of his constituents it will be made up of truly, deeply stupid people.

Hey, Rob - I fixed your pos... (Below threshold)
jim:

Hey, Rob - I fixed your post. I think you were talking about Alberto Gonzalez. Or was it Tom Delay?

"You see, being a Republican means you have the right to be as corrupt as you can be, tell lies without end and not be held accountable. Slaps on the wrist is cruel and unual punishment for these criminal girly men.

What is needed is to stand them with a rope dangling in front of them. Maybe that will scare the treason out of them. Probably too late for that since it has become part of the standard opperating procedures handbook."

Maybe he's hoping to mak... (Below threshold)
jim:

Maybe he's hoping to make it to 2009 and a presidential pardon?

If so, he's really up the creek. I don't see any politician sticking their neck out for someone so obviously guilty. Especially in their first year of office.

Langtry: "Does he theref... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Langtry: "Does he therefore know that "The Chewbacca Defense" is unavailable to him?"

Just the reminder of that South Park episode made me snort!! for those who didn't see it, here it is (just imagine it being used to explain away $90,000 in cash and TONS of evidence)...
******
"Cochran: Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, Chef's attorney would certainly want you to believe that his client wrote "Stinky Britches" ten years ago. And they make a good case. Hell, I almost felt pity myself! But, ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!Gerald Broflovski: Damn it!
Chef: What?Gerald: He's using the Chewbacca Defense!
Cochran: Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, [approaches and softens] does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests."

justrand:<bloc... (Below threshold)

justrand:

Just imagine it being used to explain away $90,000 in cash and TONS of evidence ...
It was the only thing I could think of when I thought to myself "How is he going to explain this?" I cracked myself up when I thought of it, too.
Sorry, but I was wondering ... (Below threshold)

Sorry, but I was wondering - when he posted bail, did he get the money out of a cooler, or were those assets, umm, frozen?

Perhaps the resources pursu... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Perhaps the resources pursuing Scooter Libby were misdirected?

Hey Jim are you really an i... (Below threshold)
RFA:

Hey Jim are you really an idiot or do you just play the part here on Wizbang for grins?

"I am absolutely innocent o... (Below threshold)
yo:

"I am absolutely innocent of the charges that have been leveled against me"

...

*snicker*churtle*

Ok, man.

Whatever.

Jefferson shouldn't get his... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Jefferson shouldn't get his hopes up.

Duke Cunningham left $32,000 stuffed in Ziploc bags in a metal box in his driveway. And he also said "I'm innocent."

Bob Ney also said "I'm innocent".

And look where they are.

Or Jefferson can hire someo... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Or Jefferson can hire someone like Brian or Jim to do the Clinton defense for him.

Duke Cunningham left $32... (Below threshold)
actual:

Duke Cunningham left $32,000 stuffed in Ziploc bags in a metal box in his driveway. And he also said "I'm innocent."

Want to rephrase that Brian ?

(from wiki)
Duke Cunningham resigned from the House on November 28, 2005 after pleading guilty to accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes and underreporting his income for 2004. He pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion. On March 3, 2006, he received a sentence of eight years and four months in prison and an order to pay $1.8 million in restitution.

Oh for 2, Brian.<b... (Below threshold)
actual:

Oh for 2, Brian.


(from wiki)
Before his own guilty plea, Bob Ney was identified in the guilty pleas of Jack Abramoff, former Tom DeLay deputy chief of staff Tony Rudy, former DeLay press secretary Michael Scanlon and former Ney chief of staff Neil Volz for receiving lavish gifts in exchange for political favors.

Just found this one. Oops, ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Just found this one. Oops, our trolls may be a little less than honest as usual.

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/MattMargolisMarkNoonan/2007/06/08/william_jefferson_scandal_taints_entire_democratic_party

William Jefferson Scandal Taints Entire Democratic Party
...
The charges against Jefferson are far worse than any allegations made against Tom DeLay, as well as the crimes committed by Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) and Bob Ney (R-OH) combined. If convicted on all 16 charges, Jefferson faces over 200 years in prison. During the 2006 campaign, Nancy Pelosi was quick to say that even a hint of GOP scandal was evidence of widespread corruption in the entire Republican Party. However, in the case of Jefferson, not only could Nancy Pelosi not be made to act in the interests of the American people, but she couldn't even find any words of condemnation for Jefferson.

More from the link above. I... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

More from the link above. It took Pelosi only 5 months to build the "best" liberal culture of corruption. Our liberal friends can be proud of this record.
--------------------------------------------
With Democrats making ethics the centerpiece of their campaign, the political environment in 2006 should have made it impossible for any embattled Congressman to get reelected. However, while many tainted Republicans were defeated in November, Jefferson (and other embattled Democrats) were reelected. And to top it off, Jefferson was given a standing ovation by the House Democratic Caucus on his return to Congress in January.

With the election over, Speaker Pelosi, adding insult to injury, picked Jefferson to sit on the sensitive House Homeland Security Committee. Strangely, the appointment received unanimous approval from the House Democratic Caucus. It took pressure from House Republicans to prevent Jefferson's placement on the highly sensitive committee.

In spite of this mounting evidence against Jefferson and her promise to the American people to lead the most open, honest and ethical Congress in history Nancy Pelosi chose to protect Jefferson by effectively shutting down an ongoing ethics investigation into the scandal by refusing to appoint ten Democrats to serve on the 20-member bipartisan ethics "pool." By "coincidence", she finally made the appointments... the day after Jefferson's indictment. House Republican Leader John Boehner had 10 Republicans selected in January.

Pee-looser is not strong en... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Pee-looser is not strong enough to pull the plug so she can drain the "swamp". snicker snort

(pssst wee wee lee lee Ward can you spell "pardon"?)

Want to rephrase that Br... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Want to rephrase that Brian ?

Ummm, no.

Cunningham "welcomes a fair investigation because he is confident that any such inquiry will eventually clear his good name," the statement said. www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20050702-9999-1n2duke.html


But after he was sentenced and taken away to a jail in San Diego, he told the deputy federal marshal who put him in his cell, a guy named Dave Dallaire, that it was all a misunderstanding and that he had been "ramrodded." His wife, Nancy Cunningham, said in an interview with Kitty Kelley last year that he claimed he was innocent, had been railroaded by the government, that he had signed the plea agreement under duress, and that he even thinks he will pardoned by President Bush. He lied up until the moment that he pleaded guilty and engaged in cover-up practices, clumsy as they were.
politicsplusstuff.blogspot.com/2007/05/duke-cunningham-most-corrupt.html

The former congressman, who initially claimed innocence and said he had acted "honorably and honestly," pleaded guilty
www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/cunningham/20070215-9999-1n15wilkes.html

"I want to assure my constituents that I have acted honorably in the performance of my duties in Congress ---- this truth will be evident in time," he said. "I have cooperated fully with the government's investigation and I am confident that I will be vindicated."
...
"I will not ignore the damage to my standing in this community that has followed from these false charges"
www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/07/15/news/top_stories/17_005133253.txt


Folks, this is politics. C... (Below threshold)
suhnami:

Folks, this is politics. Corruption is blind to parties. There are so many examples of each, to see people fight over whose side does it least is laughable. This kind of thing is as old as humankind, and unlikely to change. To think your party is the lesser evil is true arrogance. And yes, when these punks do get busted, they declare innocence, and try to do whatever they can to not go to jail. What do you expect them to do? It's all about survival, and there are many tools at their disposal to dodge bullets. Some of them survive and some don't. Political Darwinism. Hell, you can even smoke crack as mayor and get re-elected. I know political threads are all about "Well your side did this 8 years ago, so it's ok if our side did it..." but really, doesn't it get old? Accept that there are sleazeballs in your party and stop trying to make excuses for every single one of them, while demanding for the heads of sleazeballs in the other. It's like die hard star wars fans trying to convince me there is clever subtext in 'The Phantom Menance'. Nope, it's just crap, no matter how much I love the first three.

amen suhnami. The partisan ... (Below threshold)

amen suhnami. The partisan brinksmanship on this topic is truly boring.

2 for 2."... (Below threshold)
Brian:

2 for 2.

"Any allegation that Rep. Ney did anything illegal or improper is false," his spokesman, Brian Walsh, said in a statement. www.cantonrep.com/index.php?ID=254305


"Any action taken by Congressman Ney was done in good faith and consistent with the rules of the House and his ethical obligations," his lawyer, Mark H. Tuohey, said Friday. "He has done nothing wrong."
...
Although Mr. Ney has said that he believed the trip was paid for by a public policy center - and that he was duped by the lobbyist - it may be much more difficult for him to convince prosecutors of his innocence now that they have reached a plea agreement with Mr. Abramoff and appear to trust the lobbyist's version of events.
www.nytimes.com/2006/01/17/politics/17ney.html?ex=1181448000&en=752bb0aa5be25c06&ei=5070

In a recent e-mail to reporters, Ney's spokesman wrote that many of the claims contained in Scanlon's plea agreement were "unsubstantiated allegations." "In fact, many of the things suggested to have occurred did not actually take place," the statement reads.
dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2005/11/22/ney/index.html

The six-term congressman denies any wrongdoing
www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/14/politics/main1893570.shtml

Folks, this is politics. Co... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Folks, this is politics. Corruption is blind to parties.
-----------------------------------------------
Corruption is blind to countries. We are all human. So there is not a difference between the US and North Korea. They are both the same, you know.

Huh? I said that co... (Below threshold)
suhnami:


Huh? I said that corruption exists in both republicans and democrats, which means that the US and North Korea are the same? Your logic thread is not flawed, it's broken.

If you want to talk about the leadership styles of both countries fire up another thread, but please, stay focused.

Huh? I said that corruption... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Huh? I said that corruption exists in both republicans and democrats
--------------------------------------------
True, the point which one is doing a better job cleaning up their corruption. There is corruption in the US and there is corruption in NOrth Korea. Even in gov. So there is no difference between the US gov and N. Korea gov.

The same logic!

Brian - The topic ... (Below threshold)
Actual:

Brian -

The topic of the post is Congressman Jefferson pleads "not guilty" during his arraignment. To me, this means the topic is about whether the subject of the trial admits guilt or not. Every politician denies wrongdoing when the charge originally surfaces in the press. The proof is what they say in court. Both Republicans pleaded guilty. William Jefferson did not.

I think the pre-trial quotes about innocence are boilerplate for any politician. When the actual on-the-record trial starts is when I give credence to what is being said and done by the parties involved. There is additional risk in a not guilty plea for the subject, possible perjury charges for witnesses and possible misconduct charges for the prosecutor.

I don't know what yo... (Below threshold)
suhnami:


I don't know what you're talking about. I wasn't talking about corruption cleanup or comparing country governments (which you didn't mention). I'm talking about blind party loyalty who go to great lengths to defend their own no matter what the facts and are quick to dismiss the opposing party when they are caught with their hand in the cookie jar. I guess we're not really arguing, we just aren't talking about the same thing. Have a good weekend.

It is true that we shouldn'... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

It is true that we shouldn't have blind party loyalty. Yet at the same time we shouldn't make the moral equivalency that corruption is common. So we cannot distinguish one from another as better. We should look at the facts objectively and choose the better choice. That 's the point. For example, the classical liberal democrats like FDR and Truman and the dem party back then was a much more decent party compared to the corrupt version of the dem party. So you do have the point that blind loyalty to the Dem party is a big mistake. The dem party today cannot even attain the minimum standard of decency. That 's the point.

Just like to point out the possible implication of the moral equivalency. The US/North Korea is just a simple illustration to make that point.

I think the pre-trial qu... (Below threshold)
Brian:

I think the pre-trial quotes about innocence are boilerplate for any politician. When the actual on-the-record trial starts is when I give credence to what is being said and done by the parties involved.

The statement of mine that you objected to was that both men claimed innocence. You're now adding new context to try to show me wrong. You can make a new and separate point about formal pleas entered if you wish, but my statement was and is correct.

Both Republicans pleaded guilty.

Yes, eventually. After first proclaiming their innocence, and only after being offered deals. I see no difference between proclaiming innocence and then taking a deal, and pleading not guilty and then being convicted. Both show you to be a liar, both result in a conviction. Of course there's a legal difference. But not in terms of "my guy is less unethical than your guy because mine pleaded guilty for a deal and yours is fighting in court." And if that is what you meant, then that's just -- as another poster said -- partisan brinksmanship, which I'm not interested in.

What will his defense be... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

What will his defense be?

Bush made him do it!

(Well, what did you expect?)

partisan brinksmanship, whi... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

partisan brinksmanship, which I'm not interested in.
------------------------------------------------
So you may be interested in this

With Democrats making ethics the centerpiece of their campaign, the political environment in 2006 should have made it impossible for any embattled Congressman to get reelected. However, while many tainted Republicans were defeated in November, Jefferson (and other embattled Democrats) were reelected. And to top it off, Jefferson was given a standing ovation by the House Democratic Caucus on his return to Congress in January.
With the election over, Speaker Pelosi, adding insult to injury, picked Jefferson to sit on the sensitive House Homeland Security Committee. Strangely, the appointment received unanimous approval from the House Democratic Caucus. It took pressure from House Republicans to prevent Jefferson's placement on the highly sensitive committee.

Democrats are by f... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Democrats are by far the most corrupt , immoral , unethical and UN-AMERICAN. I forgot serial liars and frauds. There might be a few Republicans that engage in some of the above , however democrats have made it common practice and then lie about it and turn around and accusr Republicans of the very thing they themselves are fully engaged in.

It's no secret that the most corrupt Administrations have been democratic. They are the party of criminals after all. They are the ones who lied and deceived there way into the Majority in 2006 having no Ideas they could win on. Is there anything else the democrats do other than "taking things from you for the good of common man". (Raising taxes to buy votes).

Can anyojne explain why the Queen of Hypocrisy , Pelosi was fined $20,000.00 . Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

So you may be interested in... (Below threshold)
Brian:

So you may be interested in this

Republicans, adding insult to injury, engineered a way for Tom DeLay to be Majority Leader even if he was to be indicted. Strangely, the maneuver received unanimous approval from the House Republicans. It took pressure from House Democrats to prevent DeLay's continuation in the highly powerful position.

Blah blah blah, dishonesty, blah blah blah, liberal sewage, blah blah... yeah, we already know your routine.

Engineered? HA HA HA ! ... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Engineered? HA HA HA ! I love how you lowlife losers are so desparate to Clintonize Republicans.

"It took pressure from House Democrats to prevent DeLay's continuation in the highly powerful position."

Wrong, it took another corrupt criminal democrat Prosecutor to bring up trumped up charges after he went "Grand Jury Shopping". Delay got "Nifonged"

Piglosi was in fact guilty of what her and her fellow Rats were acusing Delay of. Democrats were tired of getting hammered by Delay since he was better at democrat tactics that the Rats were. He pretty much beat them at their own game. Boo hoo hoo.

Deal with it Brian and Lee, democrats are the party mired in Corruption and election/voter fraud. It's a historic fact that you just can't live with. Until your lowlife leadership admits to these facts and openly apologies for their less than honorable behaviors, lies and fraud they will always be what they are. Lying despicable frauds.

HOWEVER....everyone knows the democrats will NEVER , EVER BE FORTHRIGHT AND TAKE RESPOSIBILITY AND ADMIT GUILT.(Katrina/National Security/CORRUPTION). Not even when there is 100% undeniable proof of guilt. It's the Democrat way. Todays democrats are complete frauds and It should be clear as day that the democrats know the only way they can make themselves look half way decent is to lie and smear the entire Republican Party for example , the way they do in the few seconds they are given to answer a simple "Yes or No" question on say ,FOX News.

Care to explain that Brian? Why democrats refuse to answer simple yes or no question and instead ramble their latest democrat speil?

Why are democrats so desparate to "Clintonize"
President Bush and the Republican Party? Do tell.

It would certainly be bette... (Below threshold)

It would certainly be better for Jefferson to resign his seat in Congress and then hire good legal representation to offer him the best possible defense and see where the chips may fall. That's about all he can with such serious charges and evidence.

Jefferson can only hope for... (Below threshold)

Jefferson can only hope for a sympathetic jury.

It's worked before.

I agree with an earlier pos... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

I agree with an earlier post that this is a political problem, not a problem of a particular party. In a new study of public corruption, Mississippi came out as the most corrupt state, not Louisiana. Jefferson needs to go for the good of the state, but don't fool yourself that this is just a democratic problem.

Wrong, it took another c... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Wrong, it took another corrupt criminal democrat Prosecutor to bring up trumped up charges after he went "Grand Jury Shopping".

Wrong, the rule allowing DeLay to continue as leader was reversed before he was indicted. Got any other lies to trot out?

Wrong, it took another corr... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Wrong, it took another corrupt criminal democrat Prosecutor to bring up trumped up charges after he went "Grand Jury Shopping".

Wrong, the rule allowing DeLay to continue as leader was reversed before he was indicted.
-----------------------------------------------
Is this partisan blinkmanship to deflect from Ronnie Earl 's Grand Jury Shopping? Any other lies to trot out?




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