WBEZ | Jesse Jackson Jr http://www.wbez.org/tags/jesse-jackson-jr Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Rev. Jesse Jackson on racial tensions, student protests and the power of a football team http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-10/rev-jesse-jackson-racial-tensions-student-protests-and-power <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mizzou protest ap Jeff Roberson_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Two top officials at the University of Missouri are stepping down after student protests and a hunger strike over racial tensions on campus. The University system&rsquo;s president has resigned and the school&rsquo;s chancellor will move into a different post at the end of this year.</p><p>The protests reached a breaking point this week after Missouri&rsquo;s football team threatened to boycott an upcoming game &mdash; a move that would&#39;ve cost the school at least a million dollars.</p><p>Civil rights activist the <a href="https://twitter.com/RevJJackson?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Reverend Jesse Jackson</a> shares his thoughts on the University of Missouri and the powerful role that student athletes played in this situation and others like it.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 12:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-10/rev-jesse-jackson-racial-tensions-student-protests-and-power Jesse Jackson Jr. released from halfway house in Baltimore http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-released-halfway-house-baltimore-112230 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/jessejacksonjrhalfwayhouse.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. returned to his family&#39;s Washington, D.C., home on Monday after leaving a halfway house where he lived for several months since serving 2&frac12; years in prison for spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items.</p><p>Jackson, an Illinois Democrat, was released from the Volunteers of America halfway house in Baltimore in the morning and left in one of two black SUVs that were there for him. He traveled to his home in Washington, where family members say he&#39;s expected to stay while on home confinement.</p><p>Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ed Ross said Jackson&#39;s home confinement release is expected Sept. 20, after which Jackson&#39;s wife, former Chicago city council member Sandi Jackson, is scheduled to serve prison time on a related conviction. On Monday, the former congressman showed reporters a tracking device he wears on his ankle. He briefly spoke to The Associated Press outside the family&#39;s home when asked how he was doing.</p><p>&quot;No complaints,&quot; he said. &quot;It&#39;s a great day to be home ... great day to be with my family and my friends, thank you.&quot;</p><p>Sandi Jackson was sentenced to a year in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns that knowingly understated the income the couple received. In a concession to the couple&#39;s two children, a judge allowed the Jacksons to stagger their sentences, with the husband going first.</p><p>Ross said that Sandi Jackson would be expected to surrender in October, or 30 days after her husband&#39;s home confinement term expires. A Chicago-based attorney for Sandi Jackson didn&#39;t immediately have a comment.</p><p>The former congressman must also spend three years on supervised release under jurisdiction of the U.S. Probation Office and complete 500 hours of community service.</p><p>The couple&#39;s children attend school in Washington. Jackson Jr., is the son of civil rights leader, the Rev. Jesse Jackson.</p><p>&quot;He&#39;s doing really well,&quot; the elder Jackson said in a phone interview from Chicago. &quot;He&#39;s close to permanent release. He is emotionally and physically strong. His family is delighted, and so are we.&quot;</p><p>Jesse Jackson Jr. moved into the halfway house after his release in March from an Alabama prison. He pleaded guilty to one felony fraud count in February of 2013 and began his sentence in November.</p><p>Jackson served in Congress from 1995 until he resigned in November 2012. In June 2012, he took medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues.</p><p>The Jacksons spent campaign money on fur capes, mounted elk heads, a $43,350, gold-plated men&#39;s Rolex watch and Bruce Lee memorabilia, as well as $9,587.64 on children&#39;s furniture, according to court filings.</p><p>Jackson&#39;s resignation ended a once-promising political career that was also tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions to raise campaign funds for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Barack Obama&#39;s vacated U.S. Senate seat. Jackson has denied the allegations.</p></p> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 08:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-released-halfway-house-baltimore-112230 Jesse Jackson Jr. leaves federal prison for halfway house http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-leaves-federal-prison-halfway-house-111763 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/jjj_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 3/27/2015</em></p><p>CHICAGO (AP) &mdash; Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. arrived at a Baltimore halfway house late Thursday, hours after leaving an Alabama federal prison where he was serving a sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items.</p><p>Jackson arrived Thursday night with members of his family at the Volunteers of America halfway house, where he begins his transition back into society.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m very very happy that I&#39;m with my wife and children, I&#39;ve missed them a very long time,&quot; Jackson said as he pushed through a group of reporters to enter the halfway house.</p><p>Earlier in the day, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, speaking by phone shortly after picking up his 50-year-old son, described his release from the minimum security federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base as a &quot;joyous reunion.&quot; He added that the younger Jackson was doing &quot;very well.&quot; The civil rights leader was not with his son when he checked into the facility.</p><p>The halfway house has been in operation for more than 30 years in the same two-story brick facility in Baltimore, according to spokeswoman Danielle Milner.</p><p>The facility serves between 500 and 700 residents annually with housing, employment counseling and other transitional services. Some people are allowed to live in their own homes, but that&#39;s up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, she said.</p><p>Jackson Sr. had said earlier Thursday that his son will be living at the halfway house for six months, but federal officials have not confirmed that.</p><p>&quot;He is respecting the rules and the process,&quot; the Rev. Jackson said. &quot;He is not asking for any special privileges.&quot;</p><p>Jackson Jr. said he didn&#39;t know what would happen once he has checked into Volunteers of America.</p><p>Jackson began his 2 &frac12;-year prison sentence on Nov. 1, 2013, and his release date is Sept. 20, 2015. After that, Jackson must spend three years on supervised release under jurisdiction of the U.S. Probation Office and complete 500 hours of community service.</p><p>At some point, it will be his wife&#39;s turn to serve out her punishment on a related conviction.</p><p>Sandra Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, was sentenced to a year in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns that knowingly understated the income the couple received. In a concession to the couple&#39;s two children, a judge allowed the Jacksons to stagger their sentences, with the husband going first.</p><p>Jackson served in Congress from 1995 until he resigned in November 2012. In June 2012, he took medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues.</p><p>The Jacksons spent campaign money on fur capes, mounted elk heads, a $43,350, gold-plated men&#39;s Rolex watch and Bruce Lee memorabilia, as well as $9,587.64 on children&#39;s furniture, according to court filings.</p><p>Jackson&#39;s resignation ended a once-promising political career that was tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions to raise campaign funds for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Barack Obama&#39;s vacated U.S. Senate seat. Jackson has denied the allegations.</p></p> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 18:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-leaves-federal-prison-halfway-house-111763 Will Jesse Jackson Jr.'s personal items make the cut in Chicago's archives? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/will-jesse-jackson-jrs-personal-items-make-cut-chicagos-archives-108755 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-4e161ccb-5204-f385-5bc8-8aecb07f6ab8">For those who were interested in buying the furs or celebrity memorabilia once owned by former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., the opportunity was fleeting. &nbsp;Just three days after they were been posted on <a href="http://www.txauction.com/" target="_blank">TXAuction.com</a>, US Marshals yanked them, <a href="http://www.txauction.com/forms/USM%20Press%20Release.pdf?CFID=1089729&amp;CFTOKEN=3c87d548eb01990a-33A62555-5056-8125-308FE8E4057D2835&amp;jsessionid=2F0E7FF131365245A793B883F4B5D312.cfusion" target="_blank">after concerns over their authenticity.</a></p><p dir="ltr">While the US Marshals determine whether Jackson&rsquo;s belongings will return to the auction block, the capes and signed photographs of 80&rsquo;s actors and musicians have become the butt of jokes.</p><p dir="ltr">But will they make the cut in Chicago&rsquo;s historical archives? And how will these items be judged by the arbiters of Chicago political history?</p><p dir="ltr">There is only one place to start to answer that question:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagohistory.org/" target="_blank">The Chicago History Museum</a>, formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society.</p><p dir="ltr">John Russick, director of curatorial affairs at the museum, is the tour guide du jour for what he calls the &ldquo;cook&rsquo;s tour&rdquo; of the museum. Russick has a pretty big hand in choosing what lives on the four floors of the building on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, and its two additional storage areas across the state.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/brucelee.jpg" style="height: 201px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Bruce Lee memorabilia that Jesse Jackson, Jr. purchased with campaign dollars. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marshals)" />The top floor of the Clark Street building is like a well-organized attic. Hundreds of thousands of items are hidden from public viewing in cabinets or covered with big white sheets. Quarters are pretty tight. Only a small group of people could wind their way through the stacks of toys, dinnerware, political buttons and more. There&rsquo;s everything from a trophy made of melted dimes for Admiral George Dewey to a replica of Mrs. O&rsquo;Leary&rsquo;s cow that actually kicks.</div><p dir="ltr">Then down in the basement, more Chicago relics. On one side, in the sculpture storage room, carved heads and busts of all shapes and sizes stare you down as if you&rsquo;ve disturbed them. Around the corner, there are rows upon rows of more faces - many of them belonging to Abraham Lincoln - but this time, on hanging portraits. In another corner, costumes; in yet another, architectural models and maps.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says deciding what else to add to this vast collection is a pretty complex process.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Everything that happens in Chicago could be a great Chicago story,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But not everything is a great Chicago story, so we are charged with that - to try and figure out what stories, especially recent stories, are really going to wind up being important stories in the future.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There are a few criteria the museum staff must follow when they receive a donation or come across an item they might want to acquire.</p><p dir="ltr">First: Collecting in 2013 isn&rsquo;t the same as collecting when the museum was founded in 1856. Curators and staff ponder if the new item provides more insight into a story. Or might they already have something better in their massive collection so the museum isn&rsquo;t bursting at the seams?</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Badge.jpg" style="height: 236px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="A diamond-studded, gold star badge that was given to former first ward Alderman Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna from a group of constituents. Museum officials say this is the perfect material representation of political corruption. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />Second: Can this item evoke a larger story? Is there something that makes it more than just a costume or a document?</div><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not just here for researchers and scholars who want to tap into Chicago historical material,&rdquo; Russick explains. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re also here for citizens of the city who want to see objects that spark their imagination, that inspire them to look more.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">And Russick doesn&rsquo;t answer these questions alone. He&rsquo;s one of five curators that review possible items for the collection - and they&rsquo;ll also work with archivists, library staff and the collections department as things are processed and catalogued.</p><p dir="ltr">Take the Jesse Jackson Jr. items, for example.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick said he and his team talked it through, and decided in the end, the furs or signed photos, while intriguing, don&rsquo;t really tell the full Jackson story, or any other Chicago story, for that matter. The items ranged from a red cashmere cape with mink trim to Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson memorabilia.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We thought these might be evidence of some measure of personal style or even somewhat of maybe excess in his life, but it wasn&rsquo;t truly evidence of corruption or anything of that nature,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, he points to a gold, <a href="http://blog.chicagohistory.org/index.php/2013/02/a-star-with-a-storied-past/" target="_blank">diamond-studded sheriff&#39;s badge</a> that belonged to Michael &ldquo;Hinky Dink&rdquo; Kenna. He was one of two aldermen who represented the first ward in the late 1800&rsquo;s. Back then, the area south of the Loop was home to brothels, saloons and gambling halls. Kenna and Alderman &ldquo;Bathhouse John&rdquo; Coughlin profited from the schemes to keep them open.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says some constituents gave Kenna the star in 1897. And this, he says, is a great fit for the museum&rsquo;s collection. It&rsquo;s material evidence of a culture of political back-scratching, and it could even be used for research.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It has sort of the markings of a gift,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Even in our culture today, we would see that as sort of suspicious and I think that it sort of builds on story we already know about Kenna and his times and the notion of first ward politics.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says Jackson&rsquo;s personal items wouldn&rsquo;t fit in the collection in the same way. The items could end up at universities or political libraries or in someone&rsquo;s home, depending on the outcome of the auction.</p><p dir="ltr">Paul Green, director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University, says the museum is making the right call.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;What would be the purpose of it?&rdquo; Green said. &ldquo;This is the stuff that got a guy sent to the slammer? &nbsp;You know, if we did that for everybody in Chicago and Illinois, we&rsquo;d have to turn Soldier Field into a museum and put a cover on it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">According to Green, Chicago politicians are conscious of the material legacy they&rsquo;ll leave behind.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We like to put our names on everything, you know, sooner or later, Millennium Park will be the Richard M. Daley Millenium Park. I&rsquo;m not wishing the mayor any ill but when he goes to great precinct in the sky, that&rsquo;s gonna happen.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But Green says, in this case, it&rsquo;s not the stuff that will secure Jackson&rsquo;s legacy in the city&rsquo;s history of corruption. &nbsp;And coming from a professor whose office could give the History Museum a run for its money, that&rsquo;s a significant statement.</p><p dir="ltr">Green&rsquo;s office walls are filled with signed photos of the last few mayors, and multiple keys to the city. He even has a picture of Kenna by his office door.</p><p dir="ltr">But Green says Jackson Jr.&rsquo;s story will survive without any relics. His story is one of a promising young politician whose future came to a <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/washingtondc/press-releases/2013/former-congressman-jesse-l.-jackson-jr.-sentenced-to-30-months-in-prison-for-conspiring-to-defraud-campaign" target="_blank">screeching halt by his own devices</a> - through illness or otherwise.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There will be some people who think government is all corrupt and filled with bad people and they&rsquo;ll do a little giggle and say, &lsquo;oh, there goes another one,&rsquo; but people who are a little more conscientious [might] think what pressures [might he] be under that we don&rsquo;t understand?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There is one thing about Jackson&rsquo;s loot that sticks with Green: The guitar that was supposedly signed by Eddie Van Halen and Michael Jackson. That&rsquo;s the item that brought the whole auction down after reports that it might not be real. Green says he&rsquo;s surprised Jackson would spend that kind of money and not get certification for his purchase.</p><p dir="ltr">The US Marshals are still checking to see if the guitar is real or not - and whether they&rsquo;ll repost Jackson&rsquo;s belongings is also still up in the air. The auction was supposed to pay into the $750,000 of campaign funds that Jackson and his wife Sandi, a former Chicago alderman, admitted to using on personal items. Jackson has also been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. &nbsp;His wife is sentenced to serve a year after that. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, The Chicago History Museum&rsquo;s John Russick says items can become more interesting over time. The twist in the auction story shows the Jackson saga isn&rsquo;t over - and something might give the items more historical significance down the road.</p><p dir="ltr">Russick says curators aren&rsquo;t in any rush. As historians, they can wait.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ Reporter/Producer. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 16:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/will-jesse-jackson-jrs-personal-items-make-cut-chicagos-archives-108755 Candidates make final push for Jackson Jr.'s seat http://www.wbez.org/news/candidates-make-final-push-jackson-jrs-seat-105720 <p><p>The candidates vying to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. are making their final push before Tuesday&#39;s primary election.</p><p>Former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson is focusing on Kankakee and Will counties. A spokesman says she feels good about turnout there during early voting.</p><p>Alderman Anthony Beale is concentrating on getting out the vote on Chicago&#39;s South Side. His spokeswoman says Beale&#39;s ward is seeing some of the highest turnout so far.</p><p>Halvorson, Beale and former state Rep. Robin Kelly are considered the front runners in the Democratic primary. The winner is likely to win the April general election in the heavily Democratic 2nd Congressional District.</p><p>Jackson resigned in November. He has pleaded guilty to spending campaign funds on personal items.</p><p>Fourteen Democrats and four Republicans are running for the seat.</p></p> Mon, 25 Feb 2013 08:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/candidates-make-final-push-jackson-jrs-seat-105720 Chicago district disappointed in ex-congressman http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-district-disappointed-ex-congressman-105651 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS7040_AP808357641455-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Residents in this swath of sprawling Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs have brimmed with loyalty to Jesse Jackson Jr. over the past 17 years, giving him an enthusiastic majority each election &mdash; even after questionable links to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, reports of an extramarital affair and a bizarre five-month medical leave.</p><p>But the former congressman&#39;s guilty plea to charges that he lived off and lavishly spent campaign money for personal use &mdash; on everything from toilet paper to mink capes &mdash; has turned the tide. In territory where it was difficult to scrape up any criticism of Jackson, his Chicago alderman wife or his famous civil rights leader father, the mood is now simply one of disappointment.</p><p>&quot;He knew better; it was a very stupid thing to do,&quot; said 75-year-old Jeannette Reese, shaking her head as she grocery-shopped at a busy shopping complex. &quot;He and his father came to our church. I thought he was the real thing.&quot;</p><p>Reese said she had voted for the younger Jackson for years.</p><p>Jackson, who resigned from office in November, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Washington to criminal charges that he engaged in a scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. He faces up to 57 months &mdash; more than four years &mdash; in prison and a fine, under a plea deal with prosecutors.</p><p>It was an emotional day for Jackson, 47, who held back tears as he addressed the federal judge, just hours before his wife pleaded guilty to filing false joint federal income tax returns that knowingly understated the income the couple received. Sandi Jackson, who resigned from Chicago&#39;s City Council last month, faces up to two years in prison and a fine.</p><p>&quot;I did these things,&quot; Jesse Jackson Jr. told the judge, adding later, &quot;Sir, for years I lived in my campaign.&quot;</p><p>He first won office in a 1995 special election and developed widespread support from mayors who said he delivered and constituents who valued his family legacy and said he gave them a voice. That support persevered even through an intense primary challenge last year from former one-term U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson who made Jackson&#39;s ethical troubles central to her campaign. He came away with the easy majority even as he remained under a House Ethics Committee investigation for ties to Blagojevich, who&#39;s serving a federal prison sentence on allegations that he tried to profit from President Barack Obama&#39;s former U.S. Senate Seat.</p><p>Even the most loyal Jackson supporters who praised him for bringing home nearly $1 billion in federal funding to the district were rattled.</p><p>&quot;I hate that circumstances ended up like they did,&quot; said Ford Heights Mayor Charles Griffin. His small community south of Chicago &mdash; one of Illinois&#39; poorest &mdash; got a boost in its water system because of Jackson.</p><p>Still, Griffin did not want to pile on criticism. &quot;His situation is between the court system and the family,&quot; the mayor said.</p><p>Next week, voters in the heavily Democratic district head to the polls in a special primary to replace him. The crowded field of candidates includes Halvorson, former state Rep. Robin Kelly and Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale.</p><p>Jackson is scheduled to be sentenced June 28 and his wife on July 1. Both Jacksons, who maintain homes in Washington and Chicago, are free until sentencing.</p><p>More details emerged in a 22-page statement compiled by prosecutors and filed Wednesday. In it, Jackson admitted that he and his wife used campaign credit cards to buy thousands of personal items worth $582,772.58 from 2005 through April of last year. The most lavish purchases included the spending of more than $43,000 on a gold-plated men&#39;s Rolex watch.</p><p>Court papers said more than $60,000 was shelled out for restaurant, nightclub and lounge outings. Money was also spent on a washer, a dryer, a range and a refrigerator for the Jacksons&#39; Chicago home.</p><p>Jackson even arranged for the use of campaign money to buy two mounted elk heads for his congressional office, according to court documents.</p><p>Jackson entered the courtroom Wednesday holding hands with his wife and looking a bit dazzled as he surveyed the packed room. He kissed his wife and headed to the defense table.</p><p>After the hearing he shouted to a reporter: &quot;Tell everybody back home I&#39;m sorry I let them down, OK?&quot;</p><p>The Chicago Democrat disappeared from the public eye last June for a medical leave, though details on his condition and location were always scarce. Doctors later said he suffers from bipolar disorder and was hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.</p><p>His attorney said after the court appearance that Jackson&#39;s health is &quot;not an excuse&quot; for his actions, &quot;just a fact.&quot; Jackson&#39;s father has said that his son remains under strict medical supervision.</p><p>One attorney, Reid Weingarten, told reporters after the hearing that there&#39;s reason for optimism.</p><p>&quot;A man that talented, a man that devoted to public service, a man who&#39;s done so much for so many, has another day,&quot; he said. &quot;There will be another chapter in Jesse Jackson&#39;s life.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 21 Feb 2013 09:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-district-disappointed-ex-congressman-105651 Jesse Jackson Jr., wife to appear in court http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-wife-appear-court-105630 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/jjjr_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., holding back tears, entered a guilty plea Wednesday in federal court to criminal charges that he engaged in a scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. He faces 46 to 57 months in prison under a plea deal with prosecutors</p><p>Before entering the plea to the conspiracy charge, Jackson told U.S. District Judge Robert L. Wilkins, &quot;I&#39;ve never been more clear in my life&quot; in his decision to plead guilty.</p><p>Later, when Wilkins asked if Jackson committed the acts outlined in court papers, the former congressman replied, &quot;I did these things.&quot; He added later, &quot;Sir, for years I lived in my campaign,&quot; and used money from the campaign for personal use.</p><p>Jackson dabbed his face with tissues, and at point a court employee brought some tissues toJackson&#39;s lawyer, who gave them to the ex-congressman.</p><p>Jackson told the judge he was waiving his right to trial.</p><p>&quot;In perfect candor, your honor, I have no interest in wasting the taxpayers&#39; time or money,&quot; he said.</p><p>Sentencing is scheduled for June 28, and Wilkins is not bound by the plea agreement. Jacksonis free until then.</p><p>Since last June, Jackson has been hospitalized twice at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues, and he stayed out of the public eye for months, even during the November elections. His attorney said after the court appearance that Jackson&#39;s health is &quot;not an excuse&quot; for his actions, &quot;just a fact.&quot;</p><p>Jackson entered the courtroom holding hands with his wife, Sandra, and looking a bit dazzled as he surveyed the packed room. He kissed his wife and headed to the defense table. She is expected to plead guilty to a charge of filing false joint federal income tax returns for the years 2006 through 2011 that knowingly understated the income the couple received.</p><p>Jackson&#39;s father, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, sat in the front row. Before the hearing started, he wrote notes on a small piece of paper. When the proceedings started, he sat expressionless and virtually motionless, hands folded. Several other family members also attended.</p><p>Jesse Jackson Jr., wearing a blue shirt and blue-patterned tie and gray suit, answered a series of questions from the judge, mostly in a muffled tone. When the judge asked if he had consumed any drugs or alcohol in the previous 24 hours, Jackson said he had a beer Tuesday night.</p><p>As the proceedings wound up, Jackson sat at the defense table, furrowed his brow and shook his head, in what looked like an expression of disbelief. After the hearing was adjourned, he walked over to his wife, grabbed her hand, and then was greeted by his father. Jackson Jr. patted his father on the back a few times.</p><p>&quot;Tell everybody back home I&#39;m sorry I let them down, OK?&quot; Jackson told Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet, according to her Tweet from the scene.</p><p>Jackson, 47, used campaign money to buy items including a $43,350 gold-plated men&#39;s Rolex watch and $9,587.64 worth of children&#39;s furniture, according to court papers filed in the case. His wife spent $5,150 on fur capes and parkas, the court documents said. Prosecutors said that upon conviction Jackson must forfeit $750,000, plus tens of thousands of dollars&#39; worth of memorabilia items and furs.</p><p>More details emerged in a 22-page statement compiled by prosecutors, filed Wednesday, in which Jackson admitted that he and his wife used campaign credit cards to buy 3,100 personal items worth $582,772.58 from 2005 through April of last year. Personal expenditures at restaurants, nightclubs and lounges cost $60,857.04. Personal expenditures at sports clubs and lounges cost $16,058.91, including maintaining a family membership at a gym. Personal spending for alcohol cost $5,814.43. Personal spending for dry cleaning cost $14,513.42.</p><p>Among the individual purchases made with campaign credit cards:</p><p>&mdash;A $466 dinner for two of &quot;a personal nature&quot; at Mandarin Oriental&#39;s CityZen restaurant.</p><p>&mdash;A washer, a dryer, a range and a refrigerator for the Jacksons&#39; Chicago home.</p><p>&mdash;Multiple flat-screen televisions, multiple Blu-Ray DVD players and numerous DVDs for their Washington, D.C., home.</p><p>&mdash;A five-day health retreat for one of Mrs. Jackson&#39;s relatives.</p><p>&mdash;Stuffed animals and accessories for them.</p><p>&mdash;Goods at Costco, from video games to toilet paper.</p><p>The charge against Sandra Jackson carries a maximum of three years in prison. However, one of her lawyers, Tom Kirsch, says the plea agreement &quot;does not contemplate a sentence of that length.&quot; Sandra Jackson was a Chicago alderman before she resigned last month during the federal investigation.</p><p>One of Jackson&#39;s lawyers, Reid H. Weingarten, told reporters after the hearing that there&#39;s reason for optimism.</p><p>&quot;A man that talented, a man that devoted to public service, a man who&#39;s done so much for so many, has another day. There will be another chapter in Jesse Jackson&#39;s life,&quot; he said.</p><p>Weingarten said that his client has &quot;serious health issues. And those health issues are directly related to his present predicament. That&#39;s not an excuse, that&#39;s just a fact. And Jesse&#39;sturned the corner there as well. There&#39;s reason for optimism here too. Jesse&#39;s gotten great treatment, he&#39;s has great doctors, and I think he&#39;s gotten his arms around his problem.&quot;</p><p>As the hearing for Jackson got under way Wednesday, newly filed court papers disclosed that the judge had offered to disqualify himself from handling the cases against Jackson and his wife.</p><p>As a Harvard Law School student, Wilkins said he had supported the presidential campaign ofJackson&#39;s father and that as an attorney in 1999, Wilkins had been a guest on a show hosted by Jackson&#39;s father.</p><p>Prosecutors and lawyers for the couple said they were willing to proceed with the cases with Wilkins presiding. Judicial ethics require that a judge disqualify himself if his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.</p></p> Wed, 20 Feb 2013 10:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-wife-appear-court-105630 Hutchinson exits race for Jackson's US House seat http://www.wbez.org/news/hutchinson-exits-race-jacksons-us-house-seat-105583 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS6731_AP111213148450.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A well-known Illinois state senator dropped her bid Sunday for the U.S. House seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr., narrowing the field and consolidating key support behind another Democrat in a race where gun control has emerged as a central issue.</p><p>State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, targeted in recent days by critical anti-gun campaign ads funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg&#39;s political action committee, said she was leaving the race and swinging her support to former state Rep. Robin Kelly. The major shake-up came with just nine days to go before the Feb. 26 primary.</p><p>Hutchinson&#39;s move reflected the sharp divisions over the gun control issue, but also appeared to be in line with efforts to consolidate support for one of the many black candidates in the black-majority district. Community leaders had expressed concerns that the black vote could be split, thus boosting the chances of former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, a white candidate whom Jackson defeated in last year&#39;s primary battle.</p><p>&quot;I am simply unwilling to risk playing a role going forward that could result in dividing our community at time a when we need unity more than ever,&quot; Hutchinson said Sunday in a written statement. &quot;In the wake of horrendous gun related crimes all across our country, I agree with Robin that we need to stand together to fight gun violence.&quot;</p><p>Bloomberg&#39;s super PAC, Independence USA, has run ads in the district that target Hutchinson for her past opposition to tougher gun restrictions &mdash; one of the campaign&#39;s most pressing issues along with economic hardships such as joblessness and foreclosures.</p><p>In a district encompassing parts of Chicago&#39;s South Side that have been deeply affected by gun violence, Hutchinson campaigned on more moderate views, saying the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn., brought about a change of heart.</p><p>Kelly, too, was among those criticizing Hutchinson&#39;s previous position and questioning whether her newfound stance was genuine. Now, Kelly says she&#39;s pleased to have her former rival&#39;s backing.</p><p>&quot;In Congress, I will work with Sen. Hutchinson ... and other leaders throughout our district to get guns off our streets and bring jobs to our neighborhoods,&quot; Kelly said in a statement.</p><p>With Hutchinson&#39;s departure, the race is down to three top Democratic contenders: Kelly, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale and Halvorson. The primary will likely decide the race because the district is so overwhelmingly Democratic.</p><p>Illinois&#39; 2nd district also has a majority of black voters, even after boundaries were redrawn to include rural areas where there are greater numbers of white voters and where Halvorson is from.</p><p>Halvorson said Sunday that she believes she can easily woo those who had supported Hutchinson. She said in an interview that she was surprised by the sudden withdrawal and questioned what was behind the decision.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s no way that she would get out of the race unless she was told that she had no choice,&quot; Halvorson told The Associated Press. &quot;And now what kind of deal was made? What is she going to get out of it? And I think everybody should come clean. ... This district is tired of wheeling and dealing.&quot;</p><p>Hutchinson&#39;s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.</p><p>Kelly told the AP that as far as she was aware there were no backroom negotiations or political deals made and that Hutchinson&#39;s decision was hers alone. She also does not think the ads by Bloomberg&#39;s PAC were any kind of tipping point in that decision.</p><p>Kelly defended the New York mayor&#39;s right to weigh in on an election in Illinois with ads endorsing her on the gun control issue and attacking her opponents.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s still up the people who go into the booth and vote,&quot; Kelly said in a phone interview. &quot;But I think those ads counterbalance the millions of dollars that the NRA (National Rifle Association) has spent to influence what they want to influence.&quot;</p><p>Halvorson also has been targeted by the Bloomberg PAC ads because of her opposition to an assault weapons ban. She bristled at the notion of Bloomberg wading into the election.</p><p>&quot;He&#39;s got billions of dollars, he has always been very controlling and he wants to control a congressional seat,&quot; she said.</p><p>Halvorson supports background checks for gun purchases and registration of all firearms but opposes an assault weapons ban, saying law-abiding gun owners have Second Amendment rights and that a ban in Cook County hasn&#39;t prevented gun violence.</p><p>The special election was triggered by Jackson&#39;s resignation in November. Jackson faces a federal conspiracy charge for allegedly spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal expenses. He also was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.</p></p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 11:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/hutchinson-exits-race-jacksons-us-house-seat-105583 Sandi Jackson resigns from Chicago City Council http://www.wbez.org/news/sandi-jackson-resigns-chicago-city-council-104863 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/sandi.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In a move that marks the end of a Chicago political dynasty, Ald. Sandi Jackson resigned on Friday, less than two months after her husband, Jesse Jackson Jr., <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-jesse-jackson-jr-resigns-congress-103969" target="_blank">stepped down</a> from his long-time congressional seat.</p><p>Alderman Jackson, who has been representing the 7th Ward on the South Side since 2007, sent a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel just after 3 p.m. Friday saying &ldquo;with a heavy heart&rdquo; she is planning to step down on Tuesday.</p><p>&ldquo;[I] am unapologetically a wife and a mother and I cannot deny my commitment to those most important personal responsibilities,&rdquo; Ald. Jackson said in her resignation letter, released by the mayor&rsquo;s office. &ldquo;To that end, after much consideration and while dealing with very painful family health matters I have met with my family and determined that the constituents of the 7th Ward, as well as you Mr. Mayor, and my colleagues in the City Council deserve a partner who can commit all of their energies to the business of the people.&rdquo;</p><p>Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned his U.S. House seat the day before Thanksgiving, citing ongoing health issues and a federal investigation.</p><p>Representative Jackson had been gone from Capitol Hill for six months as he was treated for bipolar disorder. During his absence, news came out that the congressman was the target of a federal probe, reportedly relating to spending from his campaign accounts.</p><p>Subsequent news reports, citing unnamed sources, said Ald. Jackson was part of the investigation as well. The alderman didn&rsquo;t mention the legal troubles in her resignation letter. Just last month, Jackson <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ald-sandi-jackson-i-am-not-resigning-104331" target="_blank">told reporters</a> she had no plans to resign, despite the firestorm surrounding her family.</p><p>&ldquo;My constituents are people who depend on me to be there for them and I will continue to work hard on their behalf,&rdquo; Ald. Jackson said in December. &ldquo;I intend to finish my term.&quot;</p><p>It&rsquo;s unclear who will replace Jackson in the City Council. The deadline to hold a special election for her seat has passed, and it seems likely the mayor will appoint someone to finish out her term.</p><p>But in a statement Friday, Emanuel said he wouldn&rsquo;t announce plans for Jackson&rsquo;s succession until early next week.</p><p>&ldquo;As Sandi takes this time to focus on her family, we give her our deepest thanks and support for her service to our City and the residents of her ward,&rdquo; Emanuel said in a statement. &ldquo;Her leadership has been greatly appreciated in the Chicago City Council.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 11 Jan 2013 15:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/sandi-jackson-resigns-chicago-city-council-104863 Candidates can file petitions for Jackson's seat http://www.wbez.org/news/candidates-can-file-petitions-jacksons-seat-104665 <p><p>The first batch of candidates hoping to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. turned in paperwork Thursday to the Illinois State Board of Elections.</p><p>More than half a dozen Democrats filed candidacy petitions with signatures required for the Feb. 26 primary. The special election for the heavily Democratic 2nd District seat is April 9.</p><p>The candidates on the primary ballot include former state Rep. Robin Kelly, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale, state Sen. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/toi-hutchinson-running-congress-104110">Toi Hutchinson</a>, state Sen.-elect Napoleon Harris and former U.S. Rep. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/admitting-mistakes-reynolds-bids-jacksons-congressional-seat-104061">Mel Reynolds</a>.</p><p>The November <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-jesse-jackson-jr-resigns-congress-103969">resignation</a> of Jackson, who was first elected in 1995, creates a wide open primary. That&#39;s especially true after Cook County Democratic leaders <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/dems-fail-endorse-candidate-crowded-race-congressman-jacksons-seat-104404">couldn&#39;t agree</a> on a candidate to endorse and one of the front runners dropped out. State Sen. Donne Trotter, who was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/donne-trotter-drops-out-congressional-race-104611">arrested last month</a> when security workers at O&#39;Hare International Airport found a handgun in his bag, said he didn&#39;t want his legal problems to overshadow key issues in the region.</p><p>The district &mdash; which has approximately 420,000 registered voters &mdash; covers parts of Chicago&#39;s South Side, suburbs and rural areas. Parts of the territory have been hit particularly hard with unemployment and poverty.</p><p>Some candidates have made a gun control a top issue, particularly after last month&#39;s deadly school shooting in Connecticut.</p><p>Kelly, who supports an assault weapons ban, called it one of her top issues and said she plans to campaign aggressively, crisscrossing the district.</p><p>&quot;I plan to go from the beginning to the end,&quot; she said. &quot;Every voter is important, every constituent, from the city to south burbs.&quot;</p><p>Hutchinson said Thursday that she&#39;s raised more than $130,000 so far and collected more than double the 1,256 signatures she needed.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m going to use the support we&#39;ve earned from volunteers and small donors to build a campaign the Southland can be proud of,&quot; she said in a statement.</p><p>The filing period for established party candidates ends Monday. Former U.S. Rep. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/halvorson-run-replace-jackson-104012">Debbie Halvorson</a>, who challenged Jackson in last year&#39;s primary and lost, has said she&#39;s running.</p><p>Another candidate also will be familiar to voters in the region. Reynolds held the seat until he resigned from office in 1995 after being convicted of having sexual relations with an underage campaign worker. He was replaced by Jackson in a special election. Reynolds has said he believes voters will forgive his mistakes.</p><p>Jackson, who had been on medical leave for bipolar disorder for months, resigned in November. He cited his health and acknowledged he&#39;s under federal investigation reportedly for misuse of campaign funds.</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 07:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/candidates-can-file-petitions-jacksons-seat-104665