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Rep. Jefferson Argues To Throw Out Charges in Case

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

It’s been more than three years since FBI agents raided Rep. William J. Jefferson’s homes in New Orleans and Washington and found the famous $90,000 in the freezer. The case has still not gone to trial and Wednesday his lawyers argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals that most of the charges should be thrown out.

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
RICHMOND, Va. – Testimony before a federal grand jury about Rep. William Jefferson’s role in passing an African trade bill and the influence it gave him with African leaders violated a separation of powers clause in the Constitution and requires that 14 of 16 criminal charges against the congressman be thrown out, his attorney argued Tuesday.
Attorney Robert Trout told a three-judge appeals panel that the Speech or Debate clause of the Constitution is “absolute,” and intended to ensure that the legislative branch is “independent” and a “co-equal” branch with the executive.
But some of the judges, through their questioning, seemed skeptical about Trout’s remedy – dismissal of all the bribery-related charges in the 16-count indictment.
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