Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., was indicted Monday on federal charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes and money-laundering in a long- running bribery investigation into business deals he tried to broker in Africa.
The indictment handed up in federal court in Alexandria., Va., Monday is more than an inch thick and list 16 alleged violations of federal law that could keep Jefferson in prison for up to 200 years…
Two of Jefferson’s associates have already struck plea bargains with prosecutors and have been sentenced.
Brett Pfeffer, a former congressional aide, admitted soliciting bribes on Jefferson’s behalf and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Another Jefferson associate, Louisville, Ky., telecommunications executive Vernon Jackson, pleaded guilty to paying between $400,000 and $1 million in bribes to Jefferson in exchange for his assistance securing business deals in Nigeria and other African nations. Jackson was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.
Both Pfeffer and Jackson agreed to cooperate in the case against Jefferson in exchanges for their pleas.
The impact of the case has stretched across continents and even roiled presidential politics in Nigeria. According to court records, Jefferson told associates that he needed cash to pay bribes to the country’s vice president, Atiku Abubakar.
Abubakar denied the allegations, which figured prominently in that country’s presidential elections in April. Abubakar ran for the presidency and finished third.
It’s about time.