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Jesse Jackson Jr. Wants Leniency

Jesse Jackson Jr. could face more legal problems after he failed to file a financial disclosure report which is required from members of Congress who leave the House.
Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. Jackson and his wife were to appear in federal court to answer criminal charges that they engaged in an alleged scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Jesse Jackson Jr. could face more legal problems after he failed to file a financial disclosure report which is required from members of Congress who leave the House.

Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. Jackson and his wife were to appear in federal court to answer criminal charges that they engaged in an alleged scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By//Andrea Watson

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has one request. If the judge sends he and his wife, Sandi Jackson to prison, he wants to serve first, his lawyers told the Chicago Tribune Monday.

He will be sentenced July 3 for misuse of almost $750,000 of his campaign treasury. His lawyers said in a filing in federal court the only income Jackson Jr. receives is Social Security payments and a federal pension.

“If he serves his period of incarceration first, Mrs. Jackson would be able to work and could stabilize the family’s finances,” they said.

If he goes to prison, one of his payments would be suspended, but it is not clear if the defense lawyers are referring to the Social Security checks or the pension.

Jackson’s health issues prevent him from working, his lawyers said. They have said in the past he suffers from severe depression and a bipolar disorder.

Sandi Jackson’s defense lawyers were in court late yesterday and said she should be placed on probation.  Beside the necessary income, they said the young children need their mother. They are 9 and 13.

As the sentencing date approaches, federal prosecutors want Jackson Jr. to forfeit $750,000, the money representing the proceeds of his crime and to make restitution of $750,000.

Defense attorneys want to avoid the fine and only agree to the forfeiture. Sentencing guidelines are in the range of $10,000 to $100,000.

According to a report drafted by federal probation officials, the couple’s net worth is below $750,000. The defense lawyers cited the draft saying their net worth includes the equity for the Chicago and Washington homes, two retirement accounts and their vehicles.

The couple wants leniency. Mrs. Jackson wants probation and Jackson Jr. wants to serve a lower term, even though the guidelines call for one between 46 to 57 months.