Wednesday, May 28, 2008

An update on the bribery investigation involving Rep. William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III has refused to dismiss bribery charges against .

Jefferson is accused of orchestrating a complicated, and multi-layered scheme to receive bribes from companies seeking business in Western Africa. Proving bribery against a lawmaker is difficult because prosecutors must show that the defendant provided an “official act” such as a voting a certain way or sponsoring legislation in return for money or items he received. His lawyers argued that Jefferson didn’t do anything in his capacity as a congressman that could be considered a bribe.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III turned that legal theory on its head in his denial of the motion to dismiss, filed late last week. He ruled that bribery charges could be brought even if the activity in question doesn’t appear to fit into “responsibilities assigned by law.”

He said it is up to the jury to decide whether Jefferson’s promotion or advocacy of certain business projects to the politicians in the African countries and the travel associated with that are related to his duties as a congressman.

In his denial, Judge Ellis declared that the question of whether or not the government is able to prove its bribery case “is a question properly addressed at trial, not on a motion to dismiss an indictment.”

All he needs to do to mount his defense is to reach into his freezer and bring forth a few more blocks of cash to pay his attorneys and... oh, wait... that's how this whole thing got started in the first place!

h/t Flaps Blog

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