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August 13, 2013

Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sentencing



She also blames persistent insecurities in her brother born of constant fear in adolescence that his dad, a confidant of assassinated civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., would himself be gunned down.

Former congressional aide Miryam Mesirow also wonders if Jackson's decline began when the legislator had stomach surgery in 2004 and lost considerable weight. Some staffers noticed emotional changes afterward, she wrote.

Jackson's mom, Jacqueline Jackson, describes becoming aware of her son's unraveling a year ago, just before he disappeared from public view. Months later, he disclosed he suffered from bipolar disorder and resigned his House seat.

"(I) found my son grossly underweight and in poor health," she writes. "When I took him to his Capitol Hill office to prepare for (a) vote, the office was in total disarray, which was most unusual for my son."

Judges frequently hear compelling life stories at sentencing hearings, so it's impossible to know if Jackson's will carry any sway with his sentencing judge — U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. She could give Jackson probation or impose the maximum sentence — five years in prison.

The Harvard-educated judge worked as a private attorney in Washington before taking her seat on the bench in 2011. Her clients included now-imprisoned former Congressman William Jefferson, who gained notoriety after FBI agents found $90,000 in his home freezer wrapped in aluminum foil.

Also stepping before her Wednesday will be Jackson's 49-year-old wife, a former Chicago alderman with whom the former congressman has two school-aged children. She pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns in connection to the misspent funds and prosecutors want a 18-month term for her

The audaciousness of their behavior and apparent greed could count against both husband and wife.

The combined salaries of Jackson and his wife were more than $300,000 during much of the time they were burning through donors' money.

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