Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Jesse Jackson Jr. Takes Medical Leave of Absence

It is not clear how long Jackson will be away

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Jackson Jr. Takes Medical Leave of Absence

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Neighbors React to Jackson Jr.'s Leave

Neighbors and those who worked alongside U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. react to the news of the Congressman has taking a medical leave of absence. NBC5 Rob Elgas reports.
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U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson is taking a medical leave of absence and is being treated for exhaustion.

The congressman's office made the announcement in a three-sentence statement Monday afternoon. The office did not say how long Jackson would be away, but it said his office remain open for constituent services.

"On Sunday June 10, Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr. went on a medical leave of absence and is being treated for exhaustion," read the brief from his office. "He asked that you respect his family's privacy, his offices remain open to serve residence of the second district."

The decision to wait 15 days to notify the media was a "family decision," according to Jackson's spokesperson. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

Following the arrest of fund raiser Raghuveer Nayak last week, NBC Chicago’s Mary Ann Ahern reached out to Jackson Jr.’s wife, 7th Ward Alderman Sandi Jackson to check on his whereabouts. She replied “No comment,” by text message.

Nayak, who raised money for both Jackson and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, was arrested by the FBI on 19 counts of medical fraud.

Jackson is currently under a House Ethics Committee investigation over his involvement in the sale of President Barack Obama’s senate seat.

Nayak previously told the feds Jackson offered money to Rod Blagojevich to fill now-President Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat. Nayak said Jackson instructed him to offer Blagojevich as much as $6 million for the seat -- $1 million from the Indian community and $5 million from a fund-raiser that Jackson would organize.

Jackson has also battled problems at home. In 2010, Jackson Jr. admitted he had a relationship with Giovana Huidobro, a restaurant hostess and former model. He asked that fund-raiser Nayak pay for her to be flown from D.C. to Chicago on at least two occasions.

"The reference to a social acquaintance is a personal and private matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago." Jackson Jr. said back in 2010. "I ask that you respect our privacy."

The affair surfaced again in February during the primary election campaign when Jackson appeared before the Chicago Tribune Election Board.

Jackson said the plane tickets purchased by Nayak were “a friendly gesture” and his mistress’s visit to Chicago was “not a personal benefit to me, I don’t believe, under the House rules.”

Despite the extra-marital affair resurfacing, Jackson stayed ahead in the polls. The general election is in November.

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