FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
“Bill Jefferson’s Legal Woes Just Got Worse”
In a <a href=”http://blog.nola.com/jamesgill/2008/12/jeffersons_legal_woes_just_got.html”>Times-Picayune opinion piece,</a> writer James Gill observes that defeated U.S. Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) is set receive the O.J. version of American Justice: as much as he can afford, and not a penny more.
Now that his income and his, er…, payback options are seriously curtailed, Jefferson’s crack legal staff may be more interested in trimming their own losses. Read the whole column.
<blockquote>Jefferson couldn’t pay his lawyers because the judge ordered his assets frozen when he was indicted. He can’t complain about that. If the feds find a wad of marked bills in your freezer, frozen assets are what you get.
Jefferson has given the media a wide berth for the most part since he fell foul of the law, but he complained about being broke in an interview with Jet Magazine in April. “It’s very tough financially, ” he said. “We have created a defense fund that our friends can contribute to, but you never match the government. [Do tell. - ed.] So it beats you down. You sell this, you sell that and you use all the money that you have. We’ve sold our house, the things inside the house.”
At least he had his friends, albeit fewer than he had before he was indicted, and his congressional salary of almost $170,000 a year. Now he will have to subsist on a pension of $43,000 and his circle of friends is likely to diminish further. That happens to former members of Congress even if they haven’t left under a cloud.
Jefferson does have plenty of kinfolk in the New Orleans area, but half of them are under indictment in separate and unrelated cases. Contributions to the defense fund have largely dried up. Jefferson must face staggering bills even before his attorneys devote many more theoretically billable hours to representing him at trial.
Perhaps they would rather it didn’t come to that, especially as this may not be quite the cause celebre it was now that voters have given Jefferson the heave-ho.