Democrat Representative William Jefferson, Louisiana
U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III has refused to dismiss bribery charges against Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.).
Jefferson is accused of orchestrating a complicated, and multi-layered scheme to receive bribes from companies seeking business in Western Africa. Proving bribery against a lawmaker is difficult because prosecutors must show that the defendant provided an â€œofficial actâ€ such as a voting a certain way or sponsoring legislation in return for money or items he received. His lawyers argued that Jefferson didnâ€™t do anything in his capacity as a congressman that could be considered a bribe.
U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III turned that legal theory on its head in his denial of the motion to dismiss, filed late last week. He ruled that bribery charges could be brought even if the activity in question doesnâ€™t appear to fit into â€œresponsibilities assigned by law.â€
He said it is up to the jury to decide whether Jeffersonâ€™s promotion or advocacy of certain business projects to the politicians in the African countries and the travel associated with that are related to his duties as a congressman.
In his denial, Judge Ellis declared that the question of whether or not the government is able to prove its bribery case â€œis a question properly addressed at trial, not on a motion to dismiss an indictment.â€
So, off to trial EVENTUALLY (there is another motion pending in the appellate court) Congressman William Jefferson goes – while maintaining his office for all of these many months.
But, now there are APPARENTLY further legal troubles on the horizon for Freezer Cash Bill.
Not a good day in the life of William Jefferson.