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Jesse Jackson Jr. Pleads Guilty

Judge says he's not bound by sentencing guidelines
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2013 11:39 AM CST
Jesse Jackson Jr. Pleads Guilty
Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, Feb. 20, 2013.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Jesse Jackson Jr. dabbed his eyes with a handkerchief today and looked to his father, and the rest of his family gathered in court. "Guilty, your honor," he said, making official his reported intention to plead guilty to having misused $750,000 in campaign funds. Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and false statements, CNN reports, a charge carrying a maximum five year sentence. Asked if he was aware he was giving up his right to a trial, he responded, "I have no interest in wasting the taxpayers' time or money."

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Prosecutors are asking for slightly less than five years, but the judge stressed that he was not bound by any sentencing guidelines. "The bottom line is, I don't [know] what sentence you're going to get, and you don't know what sentence you're going to get," the judge said, setting sentencing for June 28. Neither Jackson nor his wife, Sandra—whose own court appearance is coming up in a few hours—spoke with reporters as they arrived in court. (Read more Jesse Jackson stories.)

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