Dollar Bill Jefferson gets 13 years

posted at 12:49 pm on November 14, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The sad, embarrassing saga of William “Dollar Bill/Cold Cash” Jefferson came to its ignominious end yesterday in a federal court in Louisiana.  The former Congressman, who kept $90,000 in his freezer and once diverted emergency-response resources during Hurricane Katrina to evacuate himself, will serve 13 years in prison for corruption.  The judge cut in half the recommended sentence from prosecutors, but still wound up with a longer sentence than most former Representatives:

Former Rep. William Jefferson was sentenced Friday to serve 13 years in prison for what the lead prosecutor described as “the most extensive and pervasive pattern of corruption in the history of Congress.”

While the sentence by federal Judge T.S. Ellis III fell well short of the 27 to 33 years recommended by the government, it is by the far the stiffest jail term ever imposed on a member or former member of Congress for crimes committed while in office.

Jefferson, 62, was found guilty Aug. 6 on 11 charges, including soliciting bribes, depriving citizens of honest service, money laundering and using his office as a racketeering enterprise.

He was acquitted of five other charges in a case that famously featured the revelation that he had hidden $90,000 in the freezer of his home, marked bills from the FBI that prosecutors said was going to be used as a bribe.

This case provided plenty of embarrassment for everyone, including Republicans.  Both Denny Hastert and Nancy Pelosi fought to keep the FBI from keeping evidence seized from Jefferson’s office, even though the FBI had a search warrant authorized by a federal judge.  They claimed that the House had jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute corruption on Capitol Hill.  How did Pelosi do that?  By allowing Jefferson to have committee assignments and taking no action against him, even when evidence of his corruption proved inarguable.

Jefferson lost his New Orleans seat to Anh “Joseph” Cao, a liberal Republican who backed Pelosi on health care but still voted with the GOP around 75% of the time, according to Cao’s office.  If nothing else, it would appear that New Orleans upgraded the position in terms of ethics.

Usually, defendants convicted and sentenced in federal court must serve about 85% of their time before being considered for parole.  That would be around 11 years for Jefferson, who got the record sentence for a Congressman convicted of corruption.  He has not yet started doing his time; his attorney successfully kept Jefferson out of custody pending a hearing on extending his bail while he appeals.  Failing that, his attorney argued for a January 4th surrender date in order to allow Jefferson to spend time with his family for the holidays.

That question will be answered on Wednesday, and we can expect that bail will be revoked, as is the norm in federal court.  As far as the surrender date goes, that request may be granted if the judge doesn’t deem Jefferson a flight risk.  It seems a little difficult to imagine that a judge will trust someone to keep their word to do their time after taking bribes and selling out their office.


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I fully expect Obama to pardon him.

Enoxo on November 14, 2009 at 12:51 PM

He’ll be released on appeals until Obama gives him a pardon as he leaves office, which might be pretty soon.

Cybergeezer on November 14, 2009 at 12:52 PM

I hope he forgets to buy some soap-on-a-rope before he goes in.

BuckeyeSam on November 14, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Keep a spot next to you open there Bill J, you may be getting a pardner someday that’ll need both a prayer rug, a compass facing east, a place to hang his Mao jacket and an extra bunk for his ego.

Names withheld to protect the obvious.

ted c on November 14, 2009 at 12:54 PM

next…
Rangle Rule
Geithner Rule

maverick muse on November 14, 2009 at 12:54 PM

future “Savings Czar”

ted c on November 14, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Where was Eric Holder? How did this one slip by?

ROCnPhilly on November 14, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Watch out for your cornhole, bud /Office Space

Sekhmet on November 14, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Another victim of the VRWC.

/libtard

cntrlfrk on November 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM

D.C.’s going to need a new mayor soon; This dude’s got the resume.

Cybergeezer on November 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Well now, this is a shame. He seemed so innocent and worthy of public trust.

myrenovations on November 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Blacks should be outraged that they aren’t sending any white Democrats to jail along with Jefferson. Murtha makes this guy look like a piker. Some kind of protest is in order.

Buddahpundit on November 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM

I prefer the nickname “Cold Cash” Jefferson.

aengus on November 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Fiji here we come! He’ll also be on the top of Oba Mao’s pardon list. Justice.

Mojave Mark on November 14, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Where was Eric Holder? How did this one slip by?

ROCnPhilly on November 14, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Holder is consumed living his “free the islamists” fantasy.

the_nile on November 14, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Outstanding.

RedNewEnglander on November 14, 2009 at 1:01 PM

He shore got a purdy mouth …

ElectricPhase on November 14, 2009 at 1:02 PM

When’s he gonna face the charges for using National Guard troops to save his furniture during Katrina?

fusionaddict on November 14, 2009 at 1:02 PM

OT: All morning (and very recently) Fox News has been teasing an interview with Mukasey at 1:35 PM EST regarding Holder’s announcement yesterday.

BuckeyeSam on November 14, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Blacks should be outraged that they aren’t sending any white Democrats to jail along with Jefferson. Murtha makes this guy look like a piker. Some kind of protest is in order.

Paging Senator Dodd. Your room is ready.

Drained Brain on November 14, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Much like the old saw about 1000 lawyers on the bottom of the ocean… this is a good start… for 2010.

ExSubNuke on November 14, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Rot in jail, Bill.

HornetSting on November 14, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Well now, this is a shame. He seemed so innocent and worthy of public trust.

myrenovations on November 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM

And a “………
mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” too!

Cybergeezer on November 14, 2009 at 1:07 PM

OH SNAP

blatantblue on November 14, 2009 at 1:09 PM

A truly capital outcome!

/hardy har har

blatantblue on November 14, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Nah, there won’t be a pardon. The Messiah turned his back on $Bill a long time ago.

n0doz on November 14, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Can he get conjugal visits from Bawney Fwank?

Cybergeezer on November 14, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Somehow I doubt this will be front page news in the NYT Sunday Edition.

Hope he enjoys his retirement…it’s richly deserved.

Asher on November 14, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Charlie Rangle, Chris dodd, and Barney frank next!

daesleeper on November 14, 2009 at 1:15 PM

IIRC, because of the length of his sentence, he is ineligible for Club Fed.

Christien on November 14, 2009 at 1:17 PM

And I believe the federal system doesn’t grant parole or time off for good behavior. You do the time. Heh.

Wethal on November 14, 2009 at 1:18 PM

The Republican culture of corruption continues.

Howcome on November 14, 2009 at 1:18 PM

“A nation of laws, not of men.”

Well, usually anyway. Good.

cs89 on November 14, 2009 at 1:19 PM

…and where did the chain lead? Who else was involved?..how did the solicitation process work? who guarded the gates?..who passed the cash..who backed the appointments, who looked the other way, etc.?

Itchee Dryback on November 14, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Blacks should be outraged that they aren’t sending any white Democrats to jail along with Jefferson. Murtha makes this guy look like a piker. Some kind of protest is in order.

Buddahpundit on November 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM

A minority/Lib protest? That takes a lot of planning.

The buses have to be rented.
The signs must be designed and sent to the printer.
T-shirts have to be ordered and screened.
Union members have to be assured of 8 hrs. pay and travel reimbursement.
The “out-of-work” must be given chits for free alcohol and smokes at their local liquor stores.
Chants and faux outrage must be rehearsed.

You can’t just say “meet here” and expect these people to show up on their own dime. Who do you think they are, Tea Partiers?

David2.0 on November 14, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Am I the only one angry the judge only gave him 13 years? What mitigating factors were taken into account? It should not matter that he once garnered enough votes to play basketball with Obama. A scumbag felon is a scumbag felon.

flyfisher on November 14, 2009 at 1:28 PM

“The sad, embarrassing saga of William “Dollar Bill/Cold Cash” Jefferson came to its ignominious end yesterday in a federal court in Louisiana.”

Absolutely NOT true. If you don’t think there will be one appeal after another, you’re quite an inexperienced legal wizard. The fact is, he’s walking the streets a free man right now, pending APPEAL. If it were you or I, we’d be one full day into the 13 year sentence.

Jefferson’s case is many months from being “over”.

GoldenEagle4444 on November 14, 2009 at 1:31 PM

…and that’s 13 too few of them…

Schadenfreude on November 14, 2009 at 1:35 PM

Racist judge, no doubt. Obama will pardon him, after the 2010 election.

TXUS on November 14, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Cold

Justice

New meaning for taking a pause for the cause.

Speakup on November 14, 2009 at 1:41 PM

7th paragraph to find out he was a Dem…

Did it even show up in NYT and WaPo???

phreshone on November 14, 2009 at 1:51 PM

I sent you the link to this yesterday, now you are posting old news.

So much for TIPS

WoosterOh on November 14, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Hey! Leave Anh “Joseph” Cao alone!

He personally gets it, loves America, capitalism, and apple pie. But his constituents do not. He voted in accordance with the wishes of his constituents, something we wish many of our representatives had done. His responsibility while representing is to lead and educate to the best of his ability, to love them toward sanity, vote sane when he can. (And he was holding back during the Pelosi-care vote, refusing to be the winning vote, instead becoming “plus 1″.)

I am represented by Gabby Giffords in the AZ 8th and wish she had half the integrity of Joe Cao. He is not a “liberal” Republican, not in the traditional, eastern, “country club” sense.

exdeadhead on November 14, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Where’s Sharpton? This is racism straight up by a bunch of teabagging judges and jurists! =P

OxyCon on November 14, 2009 at 2:33 PM

P.S. I’m sure the FBI must have acted stupidly or something.

OxyCon on November 14, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Now if we will move on to Chris Dodd and Bawney Fwank we may be getting somewhere.

DuctTapeMyBrain on November 14, 2009 at 2:41 PM

Can he continue to serve in jail? And what kind of health care would he get behind bars??

poxoma on November 14, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham got only eight years for his idiocy.

However, the court was far less charitable with Cunningham and his family. After receiving his prison sentence, Cunningham made a request to remain out of custody, on bail, while he worked on an appeal. He was flatly denied. Then Cunningham made a request to have a surrender date so he could see his 91-year-old mother one last time before going to prison, so he could see her one last time before she died. The request was again flatly denied, and the Judge remanded him into custody immediately.

Of course, Cunningham was a Vietnam veteran, a war hero, an official ‘Ace’ pilot, and had served over 15-years in Congress.

Oh yeah… plus, Cunningham was a white man. No danger of any accusations of heartless racism against the Judge there I suppose.

SilverStar830 on November 14, 2009 at 5:25 PM

once diverted emergency-response resources during Hurricane Katrina to evacuate evidence that would incriminate himself

FIFY

- The Cat

MirCat on November 14, 2009 at 5:32 PM

Fiji here we come!
Mojave Mark on November 14, 2009 at 1:01 PM

I was thinking a place closer to home like Belize or Guyana :-)

RD on November 14, 2009 at 5:40 PM

His constituency would have re-elected him had they known he had to run again after the primary win. LOL!

Sadly, they’d vote for him again tomorrow if he could qualify and run.

Ricohoc on November 14, 2009 at 5:43 PM

Enjoy the ‘cooler’.

BHO Jonestown on November 14, 2009 at 7:27 PM

Has his retirement benefits for time served in congress been revoked? Does he have to surrender the nearly half million dollars the judge required he repay before he goes under consideration for whether or not he is a flight risk? I could do a lot of flight with that cash.

AnotherOpinion on November 14, 2009 at 8:34 PM

Funny….but language warning…
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=2f2_1186497492

njpat on November 14, 2009 at 9:04 PM

Wonder if they’ll let him run anyway…he’d almost certainly win even if he were actually still in jail.

Dr. ZhivBlago on November 14, 2009 at 10:45 PM

NEXT IN LINE FOR ORANGE JUMPSUITS:

Charles Rangel
Chris Dodd
Barney Frank

landlines on November 15, 2009 at 2:15 AM

He’ll be all the rage during shower time!

A word of advice here Willy: I’d invest in a “His” and “His” towel set! I hear a nice shade of salmon pink goes well with those government-issue orange jumpsuits.

Bubba Redneck on November 15, 2009 at 4:32 AM

Jefferson
Dodd
Frank
Murtha
Moran
etc..
Most ethical congress EVAH!

faol on November 15, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Someone tell Nanzi that the swamp is still full and we looking to make Charlie Rangel his cell mate.

bluegrass on November 15, 2009 at 11:48 AM

I think the most disgraceful thing the Republican Party did for many years was to act as corruption’s shield, for William Jefferson and against the FBI agents who busted him. To uphold the common interest legislators have in getting away with corruption, at the expense of partisanship and every other factor that ought to have outweighed the feeling that “cold cash is sweet, and I like it too, let’s not spoil this for each other” was awful, really awful.

Even though the criminal Democrat legislator’s punishment is too light, it’s good this lamentable story finally came to a close.

David Blue on November 15, 2009 at 5:39 PM

NEXT IN LINE FOR ORANGE JUMPSUITS:

Charles Rangel
Chris Dodd
Barney Frank

landlines on November 15, 2009 at 2:15 AM

Please… PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Khun Joe on November 15, 2009 at 7:25 PM

“…but still wound up with a longer sentence than most former Representatives”

What does it say when there are enough elected officials in prison for corruption for there to be a statistically significant average sentence?

leereyno on November 16, 2009 at 8:35 AM

Don’t worry, he’ll be sent back to congress as soon as he gets out.

Remember that impeached judge from Florida? (Sorry, can’t remember his name off the top of my head.)

MarkTheGreat on November 16, 2009 at 8:55 AM