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Jesse Jackson Jr. admits to misusing campaign funds


WASHINGTON, D.C.–Federal prosecutors on Friday filed a plea agreement reached with former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in which he admits to a felony count of misusing campaign funds.

The document contends the Illinois Democrat and his wife, Sandra Stevens Jackson, spent about $750,000 dollars from campaign coffers for personal expenses on a variety of luxury items, including furs and Michael Jackson memorabilia.

The agreement calls for Jackson to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The charging document says the campaign’s credit cards were used to purchase $582,772 in personal expenses.

The Jacksons are accused of trying to conceal the approximate $750,000 total taken from the campaign for their personal benefit.

Jackson will not have to appear in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia until his case is assigned to a judge, who will set a date to take Jackson’s plea.

Officials say it will be up to that judge to determine whether Jackson will serve any prison time. Under applicable federal laws, he could receive only probation, or up to a theoretical maximum of five years.

Federal investigators charged Jackson’s wife with filing false federal income tax returns for the couple from 2006 through 2011.

Sandra Jackson was referred to as a conspirator in the charges against her husband. She was identified not by name, but by title as manager for the campaign to re-elect him, beginning in 2011.

In a statement released by his lawyer, Jackson said: “Over the course of my life I have come to realize that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties. Still I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made. To that end I want to offer my sincerest apologies to my family, my friends and all of my supporters for my errors in judgment and while my journey is not yet complete, it my hope that I am remembered for things that I did right.”

Terry Frieden | CNN Justice Producer