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Tag: iGate

Key Witness in Cong. William Jefferson Case Gets Substantial Reduction in Sentence for Cooperating

Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News
Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A key prosecution witness in the public corruption trial of ex-Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, could be seeing daylight soon.

As expected, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of Alexandria, Va., in a written filing on Dec. 11 substantially cut the sentence of key witness Vernon Jackson from 87 to 40 months. The government had asked that the judge cut the sentence by 50 percent.

Jackson, 57, owner of a high-tech, Kentucky-based business called iGate, had pleaded guilty to bribing Jefferson in exchange for the Congressman’s help promoting business in Africa.

As part of the guilty plea, Jackson agreed to cooperate and ended up delivering some key testimony during the summer trial that resulted in Jefferson being convicted on 11 of 16 counts of public corruption.

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Convicted Businessman Delivers Some Blows in ex-Rep. Jefferson’s Corruption Trial

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson
Ex-Rep. William Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – He was a presence on the witness stand; a burly man with shaved head, glasses, facial hair and strong voice, dressed in a faded forest green prison jumpsuit with the word “Prisoner” barely legible on the back. He exuded the confidence of the businessman he once was before heading off to federal prison for bribing a Congressman named William J. Jefferson.

Time after time on Wednesday, for the second day in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, the government’s key witness Vernon L. Jackson, 58, steadily delivered damaging blows, saying Jefferson had essentially lied and deceived and lied some more.

Yes, he said, Jefferson had a hidden financial interest in his Kentucky-based high tech company i-Gate. Yes, he paid bribes to Jefferson to influence foreign leaders to promote his company that was selling technology to transmit the Internet and cable television in rural Africa.

Yes, he said, Jefferson was using his Congressional position in exchange for money. And Yes, Jackson knew it was wrong to pay a Congressman to promote his business. For the jurors, his prison suit was a pretty good reminder of his crime.

And oh yes. He hoped to shave some serious time off his 7-plus years prison sentence by cooperating with the government. That was the agreement when he pleaded guilty.

The testimony was not good for Jefferson, 62, a Harvard lawyer who was once unbeatable as a Congressman – that is until 2005 when the FBI found $90,000 of marked FBI bills in his freezer. The jokes never stopped. And nearly two years later, a big fat indictment followed : 16 public corruption counts that included allegations of  accepting hundreds of thousands of dollar. Last year, he lost in a bid for re-election.

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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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Ex-Banker Indicted For Bribery in a Case With Links to Ex-Congresman William Jefferson

Ex-Rep. Jefferson

Ex-Rep. Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — An ex-official of the Export-Import Bank of the United States in Washington was indicted on charges of taking a $100,000 bribe from Nigerian businessmen in connection with a Kentucky high-tech firm linked to Rep. William Jefferson and his public corruption case.

According to an indictment unsealed Wednesday, Maureen Njideka Edu, 42, of Potomac, Md., worked as a business development specialist covering Africa and was a contact person for Congressman Jefferson.

The indictment, which refers to Jefferson as Representative A, said Jefferson introduced Edu to the Nigerian businessmen who were seeking financing to buy products and services from iGate Inc.,  a  Kentucky firm that offered broadband and cable tv technology . The owner of iGate, Vernon Jackson, pleaded guilty in 2006 to giving  bribes to Congressman Jefferson to land business in Africa.

According to the indictment, the Nigerian businessmen offered to pay Edu $173,500, with an initial installment of $100,000 to secure money from the bank.

On Feb. 27, 2004, a wire transfer was sent to Edu’s personal bank account in Washington, the indictment said. The business deal eventually fell through as a result of disputes between the Nigerian businessmen and the Kentucky firm.

The indictment does not accuse Jefferson of any crimes. Jefferson lost a bid for re-election last year and is awaiting a May trial on public corruption charges in Alexandria, Va.. Judy Smith, spokeswoman for Jefferson, declined to comment last night on the Edu indictment.

Read Indictment