Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. may be forced to resign and face jail time as part of a tentative plea deal in which he would plead guilty to misusing campaign funds, according to a report by CBS Chicago.
Former Chicago U.S. Attorney Dan Webb is reportedly representing the Illinois Democrat in the federal probe, which is being led by the FBI Washington Field Office. The investigation centers on allegations that Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, used campaign funds to decorate his $1.3 million Washington, D.C., home. The Chicago Sun-Times also reported that authorities are looking into Jackson’s purchase of a $40,000 Rolex watch he allegedly bought for a female friend.
The investigation reportedly began before the 47-year-old checked himself into the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., seeking treatment for bipolar disorder. The lawmaker has been largely out of the public eye since he left the clinic and returned to Washington in September. He has been on medical leave since June, but he was easily re-elected in his largely Democratic district in Illinois.
The tentative deal being negotiated between the Justice Department and Webb would include Jackson pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds, resigning for health reasons and repaying funds he spent for personal use, reported CBS Chicago.
Webb, who is the chairman of Winston & Strawn LLP, has represented a number of of business and political leaders in corruption cases. He defended former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, worked as the independent counsel in the Iran-Contra trial in 1990 and is considered one of the most influential lawyers in the country.