Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for spending some $750,000 in campaign funds illegally. Upon release, the former congressman will be on supervision for three years.
Earlier today, the judge ruled that Jackson only had to pay the $750,000 forfeiture, but does not have to pay an additional $750,000 back to his campaign fund.
“If the victim is the campaign, the campaign is defunct,” Judge Amy Berman Jackson said of her decision.
This morning, Jackson and his wife Sandi, who is set to be sentenced shortly, wept in the courtroom as spoke to the judge and court, apologizing for their crimes.
“Your honor, throughout this process I’ve asked the government and the court to hold me and only me accountable for my actions,” Jackson said.
“I am the example for the whole Congress," the disgraced congressman added. "I understand that. I didn’t separate my personal life from my political activities, and I couldn’t have been more wrong.”
UPDATE 1 (12:16 p.m.): Former Chicago alderman, Sandi Jackson, has been sentenced to 12 months in prison by Judge Berman Jackson for failing to file taxes for some $600,000 in income. Sandi has also been ordered to pay $22,000 in restitution.
UPDATE 2 (12:21 p.m.): The judge would like to see Sandi go to prison first, but says she is willing to discuss the issue. The court has just gone on recess.
UPDATE 3 (1:03 p.m.): Jesse will serve his sentence first, followed by his wife Sandi, according to the judge.
Judge Berman Jackson also recommends that Jackson Jr. serve his sentence at a Montgomery, Alabama prison camp, which is one of two places his attorneys requested in court documents filed Monday. But the final decision on where the former congressman will serve his sentence is determined by the federal Bureau of Prisons.
UPDATE 4 (1:15 p.m.): Jackson Jr. said the following to reporters as he left the courthouse this afternoon:
"I still believe in the power of forgiveness. I believe in the power of redemption. Today I manned up and tried to accept the responsibility for the errors of my ways, and I still believe in the resurrection."
His last comments about believing "in the resurrection" have many political commenters saying that this is not the end of Jackson, who may try to resurrect a political career like a number of disgraced politicians like Mark Sanford of South Carolina and New York's Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer.
Judge Berman Jackson has set a turn-in date for the former congressman of on or after November 1.