Sister of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) Cops a Plea
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Bill Jefferson's sister Brenda copped a plea on Wednesday, agreeing to exchange testimony against brother Mose, sister Betty Jefferson, and neice Angela Coleman in exchange for a lesser charge of misprison of a felony -- basically, knowledge of and failure to report a crime.
Dealing a blow to her family's hang-tough legal posture, Brenda Jefferson, the youngest sister of embattled U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, pleaded guilty Wednesday to concealing her knowledge of a conspiracy to skim money from nonprofit groups controlled by relatives.
The plea marked the first admission of guilt by a member of the Jefferson family, five of whom have been charged with federal crimes in the past year.
In doing so, Brenda Jefferson agreed to provide truthful cooperation, according to her plea agreement. A summary of the government's case against her, which she signed, says she knew of and participated in various schemes being carried out by relatives who are now facing corruption charges. Brenda Jefferson also said that two of her family members charged in the charity scandal made out checks to her from the charities' accounts, then forged the endorsement and deposited the money in their own accounts.
While Brenda's testimony may not directly bear on the bribery and racketeering charges against Bill, it is the first crack in the previously solid wall presented by the Jefferson clan.
Rep. Jefferson will serve his party at its August convention as a superdelegate, as will Mose Jefferson's Main Squeeze Renee Gill-Pratt. Rep. Jefferson has declared his intention to run for reelection this fall. His Federal trail is scheduled for December.
In today's editorial, the Times-Picayune calls for Bill to step aside.