We did not weigh in yesterday, but the biggest federal criminal defense news was clearly the conviction of U.S. Representative William Jefferson of Louisiana in his criminal trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, as reported by the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The jury of eight women and four men returned a verdict of guilty against Jefferson on 11 of 16 counts, including 2 counts of conspiracy to solicit bribes to a public official in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), 2 counts of soliciting bribes, 3 counts of honest services fraud, 3 counts of money laundering, and one count of racketeer influenced and corrupt organization (RICO) violations. As a testament to Jefferson’s defense, the jury did not find Jefferson guilty on three of the honest services charges as well as a charge for obstruction of justice and a count for violation of the FCPA.
Jefferson, who is 62, faced a maximum of 235 years in prison if convicted on all counts. He has been allowed to remain released pending his sentencing on October 30. A forfeiture hearing will be held regarding his assets.
Jefferson was the first African-American congressman from Louisiana since Reconstruction.