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Appeals Court Refuses To Toss Out Public Corruption Charges Against Rep. William Jefferson

Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) has had some luck of late, winning the Democratic primary in his re-election bid. But Wednesday was not one of his lucky days, at least not in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON – Acting with unusual speed, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today refused Rep. William Jefferson’s request to throw out most of the 16 corruption charges setting the stage for a trial in 2009.
Jefferson can appeal the ruling by the Richmond, Va. based court to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could prevent a trial early next year.
There was no immediate comment from Jefferson’s lawyers.
In the ruling, a three-judge panel for the 4th Circuit said that even if the grand jury that indicted him heard testimony about Jefferson’s congressional activities, in possible violation of the Speech or Debate clause of the Constitution, that isn’t sufficient to overturn most of the federal criminal indictment against him.
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