Rep. Wm. Jefferson (D-LA): Not Guilty of Bribery, Because He's a Thief
By Vladimir Posted in $90000 | Congress | IN HIS FREEZER! | William Jefferson — Comments (4) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Or so goes the apparent defense that Jefferson's attorney will mount in his Dec. 2 trial on corruption and bribery charges.
Jefferson will be a Superdelegate at the Democratic national Convention Aug. 25-28 in Denver.
Jefferson has promised an "honorable explanation" will be provided at his trial, which is scheduled for Dec. 2, and has so far declined to elaborate.
For starters, the briefs suggest, the fact that the money was found in Jefferson's freezer instead of in the possession of Nigeria's then-vice president, Atiku Abubakar, as FBI agents had expected, exposes a huge flaw in the prosecution's theory of the case.
Instead of proving that the frozen cash is evidence of illegal activity, the fact that "Mr. Jefferson took it (the money) home and secured it in his freezer" indicates that it most certainly was not a bribe, the attorneys say. What the money was for and why it was hidden in soy burger boxes is not addressed.
In a 2005 transaction videotaped by the FBI, [Government informant Lori] Mody handed Jefferson a briefcase with $100,000 in marked $100 bills for delivery to the vice president. A few days later, Jefferson told her that he had delivered the "African art" and that the vice president was satisfied. Investigators say that was code for the bribe, which is why they raided Abubakar's Maryland home in hopes of recovering the money that wasn't there.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who has been following the case, said a less than honorable explanation could carry more weight with jurors than trying to claim complete innocence.
It's better to say, according to Turley, that Jefferson was just trying to bilk a rich businesswoman out of money, which is a crime but not one the congressman is accused of in the indictment, than suggesting he was going to use the money to help mankind.
"No one is likely to think that he hid the money in his freezer so he could help starving children in Africa," Turley said. "You can actually have a client who gains credibility if he makes self-incriminating statements."