WASHINGTON — The Justice Department filed fraud and conspiracy charges Friday against former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., saying he used about $750,000 in campaign money for personal expenses that included a Michael Jackson fedora and cashmere capes.
The 10-page document filed in federal court by prosecutors in Washington offered details of Jackson’s use of campaign money. He has agreed to plead guilty to the charges, although a date for him to accept the plea deal before a judge has not been set. The specific charges included conspiracy, making false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud and criminal forfeiture.
Jackson’s wife, former Chicago alderman Sandra Stevens, was also charged with one count of filing false tax returns. She also has agreed to plead guilty in a deal with federal prosecutors. She resigned her alderman seat last month.
According to the documents, Jackson also used the campaign money to buy a $43,350 gold-plated, men’s Rolex watch and memorabilia related to Bruce Lee, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimi Hendrix, as well as a mink parka.
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In a written statement, Jackson, 47, apologized to his family, friends and supporters for his “errors in judgment.”
“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,” he said. “Still I offer no excuses for my conduct, and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made.”
He added, “While my journey is not yet complete, it is my hope that I am remembered for the things that I did right.”
Jackson, the son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, resigned in November, shortly after winning re-election to Congress, with 71 percent of the vote, despite being absent from the job, sometimes without explanation. He took a medical leave in June and said he was treated for bipolar disorder.
A primary is scheduled for Feb. 26 to fill his seat. His district includes the South Side of Chicago and southern suburbs.
Material from The Washington Post and The Associated Press is included in this report.