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‘Freezer’ Jefferson Ethics Not On Trial

From his champions at the Washington Post:

Ex-Rep. Jefferson’s Ethics Not on Trial, Defense Says

By Allison Klein
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Federal prosecutors laid out their bribery case against former U.S. representative William J. Jefferson yesterday, telling jurors that he squeezed hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from people who sought his help, while the defense said that Jefferson might have committed unethical acts but that they were not illegal.

"A lot of what you hear you will disapprove of," said defense attorney Robert P. Trout, who acknowledged that Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat, benefited from business deals he helped broker in Africa.

"But he’s not charged with a violation of House ethics rules. He is accused of a crime," Trout said in his opening statement in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

Jefferson, 62, has been charged with 16 counts, including bribery, racketeering, obstruction of justice and money laundering. The case involves business ventures in seven West African nations — telecommunications deals in Nigeria and Ghana, oil concessions in Equatorial Guinea and waste-recycling systems in Nigeria.

The FBI raided Jefferson’s Capitol Hill home in 2005 and famously found $90,000 wrapped in foil and stuffed in food containers in a freezer. The money was supposedly going to then-Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar as a bribe to facilitate a business deal.

Prosecutors showed the jury pictures of frozen food containers — for Boca Burgers and Pillsbury pie crust — in which the money was stashed.

"It is a startling and often disheartening account of public corruption at the highest level of our government," said prosecutor Mark Lytle, who asked, "How did we get to the point where a sitting U.S. congressman had $90,000 hidden and concealed in his freezer?"

Trout told the jury that the money in the freezer had received so much publicity that he contemplated opening his statement with "a joke about the cold cash."

Instead, he offered this explanation: "He was looking to hide the cash . . . so it would not be found by the housekeeper or an intruder."

He said Jefferson is the victim of an FBI sting. "They set out to bag a congressman," Trout said.

Lori Mody, a Jefferson business associate who became an FBI informant, wore a recording device when she handed Jefferson $100,000, which he said he would give to Abubakar to solidify a business deal. Most of the marked bills ended up in the freezer.

Prosecutors said that the bribe was Jefferson’s idea and that he committed a crime even though the money had not been handed over. In a recorded conversation, he lied to Mody and told her that he had delivered the "African Art," using a code term for the money, according to both the prosecution and the defense…

According to prosecutors, Jackson will testify that Jefferson used his resources and stature as a congressman to help iGate set up business ventures and, in exchange, instructed Jackson to send payments to companies owned by Jefferson’s wife and children…

Jefferson, a Harvard Law School graduate, was reelected while under investigation, but he lost his seat in December to Anh "Joseph" Cao (R), the first Vietnamese American elected to Congress.

It is unclear whether Jefferson will testify at his trial, which is expected to last up to six weeks.

We fully expect Mr. Jefferson will be acquitted by a jury of his peers.


This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, June 17th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

15 Responses to “‘Freezer’ Jefferson Ethics Not On Trial”

  1. Reality Bytes says:

    100K payoff to the Nigerian VP?! Is this what democrats mean by regaining their respect?!! It’s a diplomacy thing isn’t it?

  2. tranquil.night says:

    Let’s talk about Ensign’s extra-marital affair instead pls?

  3. proreason says:

    “Lori Mody was emotionally fragile,”

    There ya go.

    He was helping someone in need.

    The entire trial will hinge on the color of Lori’s skin.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      It will center around “African Art” and the willingness of whitey to steal it from his “COLD CASH” box where he was hiding it from people of other colors!!

  4. Yarddog1 says:

    Until profit is taken out of politics and people like Jefferson are sent to jail to rot, this practice will continue. I would hazard to guess that there is not one clean congressman, staffer or representative in Washington who is not actively involved in screwing the public, taking bribes and violating the ethical and moral principles that should be required – not expected – required of public servants. Until these greedy, unethical, lawless and self serving people are required to live under the laws everyone else is subject to, we can expect nothing less than corruption. It is truly amazing that they don’t even make an effort to hide their indiscretions anymore. Corruption is the rule and essentially expected. When one of these sub-humans are caaught he should be drawn and quartered for violating the public trust. If citizens demanded swift and harsh justice and it was indeed carried out perhaps sheer fear would discourage such behavior. But there is no chance of that because these animals protect each other.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      In other words…………L-A-W-Y-E-R-S!!

    • proreason says:

      “I would hazard to guess that there is not one clean congressman, staffer or representative in Washington who is not actively involved in screwing the public, taking bribes and violating the ethical and moral principles that should be required – not expected – required of public servants”

      Not quite.

      The dirty work has always been done for Obamy by others. That way, he stays a virgin for his adoring public. While remaining one of the greatest crime bosses to ever walk the face of the earth.

  5. Reality Bytes says:

    Ironic that in Nigeria, he’d be staked to an ant hill if they caught him stealing.

    I said ANT HILL not Anita Hill!!! Then again, they’re probably equally horrible.

  6. Consilience says:

    This guy is as crooked as a barrel of fish hooks. When I first heard about this criminal, I thought of that Charlie Daniels song “Simple Man”—which has some innovative solutions for the criminals elected and appointed…

  7. Confucius says:

    Another Harvard Law alumni. What is wrong with this school?

  8. wirenut says:

    ETHICS…you talking to me? You talking to ME? YOU TALKING TO ME? A generous plug of chewing tobacco applied properly would cure this grifters problems,IMHO.

  9. Enthalpy says:

    After Jefferson’s criticisms of FEMA, Pelosi pushed to have him placed on the Homeland Security Committee. Jefferson used the Louisiana National Guard, two of their trucks, and personnel to retrieve money from his home in New Orleans. The National Guard soldiers signaled to a Coast Guard helicopter for help.The helicopter was tied up for 45 minutes at Congressman Jefferson’s home. A rescue diver descended from the helicopter (twice) to help the Congressman, but each time Jefferson decided not to go out on the helicopter. By the way, the helicopter was already carrying four rescued residents when it was diverted to Jefferson’s residence.

    This isn’t an ethics trial, so then, what is it? Countless professionals were tied up by this sleaze attempting to retrieve his bribe money. National Guard(6 military police), Coast Guard, and resident lives were put at risk by this esteemed member of Congress. We shouldn’t put up with this!

  10. canary says:

    Add aiding terrorists to Jefferson’s list of unethics. Nigeria is the 2nd on Obama’s top 3 list of the worst terrorist countries. It falls between Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

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