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Tag: freezer

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson of Money-in-the-Freezer Fame Wants Supreme Court To Hear His Case

exRep. Jefferson at sentencing in 2009 /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune

WASHINGTON — in what is likely the last chance to overturn his 13-year prison sentence for public corruption, former Rep. William Jefferson is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to schedule arguments on whether the trial judge gave an overly expansive definition of a congressman’s duties.

The question is central, attorneys for Jefferson said in a filing Wednesday, because the congressman was convicted almost entirely on bribery and bribery-related charges that require the government to show the defendant performed an “official act” in return for something of value.

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Judge Orders Ex-Congressman William Jefferson to Prison

exRep. Jefferson at sentencing in 2009 /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Prison is calling for ex-Congressman William Jefferson, the New Orleans politician who gained national fame after the FBI found $90,000 stuffed in his freezer in 2005.

Bruce Alpert, the star reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, reports that the fed judge in the case on Friday ordered Jefferson, 65, to report to prison by May 4 to begin serving his 13-year sentence for his public corruption convictions.  The judge revoked his $50,000 bail.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis of Alexandria, Va., sentenced Jefferson in November 2009, but he remained free pending his appeal. The 13-year sentence is the toughest ever handed down to a member of Congress.

A three-judge panel for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month rejected Jefferson’s bid for a new trial.

The Times-Picayune reported that Jefferson’s attorneys plan to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The Picayune reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Lytle, speaking in Ellis’ courtroom Friday morning, said Jefferson wasn’t likely to prevail in future appeals.

Oral Arguments Delayed in ex-Rep. William Jefferson’s Appeal

William J. Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Convicted ex-Rep. William Jefferson of money-in-the-freezer fame has had his fair share of disputes with the federal government.

But this time around he’s got to be pleased with the government, which, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, has asked and gotten more time to file briefs in the case.

After all, he remains free pending his appeal on his 2009 conviction on 11 of 16 public corruption counts. The judge sentenced him to 13 years.

The more delays, the longer he’s assured of staying out of prison in a case that began in 2005 with an FBI sting.

Oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals were set to begin the week of March 22, Bruce Alpert of the Times-Picayune reported.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. announced the delay, Alpert reported, to give prosecutors another month to file briefs, the Picayune reported.

The briefs must be filed by March 10 and Jefferson’s lawyers will have 10 days to respond.

Still, the Picayune reported that a ruling could possibly come by summer.

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Jury in William Jefferson Trial Sees America’s Most Famous Freezer

Well, sure there was key testimony from an FBI agent in the case. But at the end of the day, the jury got to see America’s most famous freezer: William Jefferson’s. The one  where FBI agents found $90,000 in marked FBI bills.

America's Most Famous Freezer
America’s Most Famous Freezer/Government Exhibit

By Jonathan Tilove and Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, VA. — The lead FBI agent in the investigation of former Rep. William Jefferson denied Wednesday that he had instructed cooperating witness Lori Mody to play on Jefferson’s emotions, get him drunk, and lure him into taking a bigger share of her company.

“That’s not on her, that’s on him, ” special agent Timothy Thibault said, explaining that Jefferson continued to escalate his demands for a piece of Mody’s business even when he wasn’t under the influence of her wiles and wine.

In its redirect, the prosecution played a videotape from the four-hour, $1,023 dinner Mody and Jefferson shared at Galileo, a fancy Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C., on May 12, 2005, to show that it was Jefferson, not Mody, who was questioning the wait staff about the wine choices, and ordering a 1997 vintage.

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Jurors See Video of Informant Handing Rep. William Jefferson $100,000

Nearly everyone has heard about the marked $90,000 in FBI money FBI agents found in Jefferson’s home freezer on Aug. 3, 2005. On Tuesday, jurors saw an FBI video of a government informant handing $100,000 to Jefferson in a brief case. When agents raided the freezer, $10,000 of that payoff was missing. The prosecution hopes the video leaves an impression with jurors. It’s also interesting to note how careful Jefferson was during the conversation with the informant, Lori Mody.

The case gained notoriety after the FBI found $90,000 in Jefferson's freezer

The case gained notoriety after the FBI found $90,000 in Jefferson's freezer

By Jonathan Tilove and Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Jurors in the corruption trial of former Rep. William Jefferson saw a videotape Tuesday of the congressman accepting a briefcase packed with $100,000 in cash that prosecutors say was intended as the down payment on a bribe to the vice president of Nigeria.

Four days later, on Aug. 3, 2005, FBI agents found $90,000 of the marked bills stashed in the freezer at Jefferson’s Washington home.

Four times, from four different camera angles, the prosecution played the July 30, 2005, videotape of Jefferson receiving the briefcase from Lori Mody, the Virginia businesswoman who was his partner in a Nigerian telecommunications venture. Mody had brought the briefcase to their rendezvous in the parking lot of a Ritz Carlton Hotel in suburban Virginia.

“Would you like to take a peek at it, or whatever?” Mody asked as Jefferson removed the briefcase from the car trunk.

“I would not, ” replied Jefferson.

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After Many Many Delays, Trial to Begin for Ex-Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson

Early on in this whole thing, Congressman William Jefferson had an opportunity to plead guilty and get about six years. Before things got too far along, he decided to pass and fight this. Well, here’s his opportunity.The ex-Congressman’s public persona has always been that of a  gentleman. But when the jury hears some of the FBI tapes, they may have different thoughts — or at least the prosecution hopes so.

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson while still in office

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson while still in office

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Nearly four years after FBI agents found $90,000 in marked bills stuffed inside the freezer in his Washington D.C. home, former Democratic Rep. William Jefferson will go on trial Tuesday, facing 16 federal bribery and public corruption charges.

While the “cold cash” came to symbolize the case on the Internet and late-night television, the investigation into complex international business deals also made legal history with the first-ever raid on a sitting congressional member’s office and a constitutional battle over the separation of powers and how bribery statutes are applied to members of Congress.

The indictment, which accuses Jefferson of seeking and sometimes receiving payments in return for helping businesses get contracts in western Africa, has already changed politics in both Louisiana and Nigeria.

Jefferson, a long-established New Orleans power broker, lost his bid for a 10th term in December to a relatively unknown Republican, Anh “Joseph” Cao. And Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar lost a run for his nation’s presidency, partly as a result of being listed as the intended recipient of bribes allegedly to be funneled from Jefferson.

Jefferson, 62, has maintained his innocence. If convicted, he would likely face up to 20 years in prison.

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