Friday night, prosecutors in the case of The United States v. William Jefferson (D-LA) issued a memorandum recommending a prison sentence of 27 to 33 years for the former congressman from New Orleans, consistent with Federal sentencing guidelines. Such a long sentence is justified, according to the memo, by the severity of the crimes, flight risk, and the possibility of hidden assets.
Anything approaching the recommended punishment would be the longest sentence ever meted out on given to a U.S. Congressman.
Jefferson will be sentenced on November 13 by Federal Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria, VA.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:
"Because Congressman Jefferson's crimes against the people of the United States were exceptional in their sheer number, length and breadth, the United States respectfully requests that this Court sentence the defendant within the applicable guideline range,'' the memorandum states. "While the guidelines sentence calculated by the Probation Office is lengthy, it is appropriate, in that Congressman Jefferson's criminal activities have surely caused or substantially added to the loss of public confidence and trust in our nation's highest levels of government.''...
According to the memorandum, "law enforcement agents learned of several wire transfers from offshore territories into U.S. financial accounts that were either controlled by the defendant or whose proceeds were made available for his benefit.''
The government's conclusion: "Given the age of the defendant, the severity of the sentence calculated by the Probation Office, the defendant's frequent travel overseas and unexplained wire transfers from overseas locations to financial accounts used by the defendant, the defendant cannot rebut the presumption at sentencing that he is a risk of flight.''