In his first public appearance since being indicted Monday, Rep. William Jefferson pleaded not guilty in federal court in this morning. The Louisiana Democrat, facing a laundry list of charges including bribery, racketeering, and obstruction of justice, then held a press conference in which he reeled off his family's achievements and called on his constituents to "keep an open mind."
Jefferson touched on the US attorney firings in his remarks, suggesting that the investigation was politically motivated. He was released on bond and ordered to turn over his passport and receive approval for any travel outside the Washington area and Louisiana. His assets have been frozen, and the House is expanding an ongoing ethics investigation to include this week's charges.