Former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday morning to misusing more than $750,000 in campaign cash on private expenses — including a $43,000 Rolex, Blu-ray players, health clubs, lavish vacations, furs, and a slew of luxury goods.
Jackson, who resigned three months ago to reportedly get treatment for bipolar disorder and clinical depression, will face time behind bars when he is sentenced this summer.
“For years I lived off my campaign,” Jackson said in court as he fought back tears. “I used money that should have been for campaign purposes for personal purposes.”
Jackson accepted charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements. The embattled Democratic lawmaker reportedly agreed to a negotiated plea recommending a sentence of between 46 and 57 months and a fine in the $10,000 to $100,000 range. But prosecutors reserve the right to argue for a harsher punishment, including the maximum sentence of five years in prison.
All parties agree that Jackson would not be eligible for probation when he is sentenced June 28.
“I’m not bound by the sentencing guidelines,” Judge Robert Wilkins said. “The sentencing guidelines are advisory and they are something I am bound to consider.”