“The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.”
With that simple declarative sentence, the Supreme Court on Monday virtually ended any hope former Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana might have had of overturning his 2009 corruption conviction and 13-year prison sentence.
It would have been big news indeed if the high court had agreed to look at the conviction, since the justices take only a fraction of the cases submitted to them, and Jefferson’s conviction in the Eastern District of Virginia was upheld last March by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. With the Supreme Court’s refusal, Jefferson is left to contemplate how best to use his time for the next decade or so.
Jefferson, 65, is now scheduled for release from the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Texas on Aug. 30, 2023, as The New Orleans Times-Picayune noted. Since there is no parole in the federal prison system, Jefferson’s only hope — the longest of long shots — is some stunning development in an episode that has already produced more than its share. Or, perhaps, as he crosses into his senior years, his health will deteriorate and he will be granted clemency.
The nine-term New Orleans Democrat was found guilty of demanding and accepting payoffs in return for promoting business ventures in Africa. A high point, or low point, in the case was the discovery of about $90,000 in cash in a freezer in the lawmaker’s Washington home.
The justices’ refusal to review the case, while no surprise, was a victory for Justice Department lawyers who just four weeks ago filed a brief urging the high court to reject Jefferson’s appeal.