Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi leave the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, after Jackson entered a guilty plea to criminal charges that he engaged in a scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
While the court files are packed with sympathetic and supportive letters for former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi, who will be sentenced in a Washington D.C. courtroom next week, others have not been so generous.
“Please do not be too soft on Jesse Jackson Jr.,” writes Aris Tomac of University Park. “He needs to learn his lesson.”
“Many of us in his district would like to see him in prison for a long time,” Tomac adds.
Bob Miller of Chicago warns Judge Amy Berman Jackson that the argument that the Jacksons’ children need them “is a false one.”
“Everyone who is incarcerated has someone who needs them,” Miller writes. “Although I am currently out of work, I have worked for nearly forty years, and can assure you was never able to accumulate a Rolex watch, elk heads, or mink capes for my wife.”
Chicagoan Patricia Coleman, who tells the judge she has a “clinical background,” calls Jackson’s claim that his bipolar condition contributed to his actions “absolutely ridiculous.”
“These individuals who have gained the trust of so many should pay dearly for their illegal actions,” Coleman tells the judge in a letter dated June 9. “I know the Jacksons have young children, and frankly I don’t care, as they should have thought of that before engaging in these activities.”
“An example needs to be set to ensure that people think twice before engaging in felony activities.”
John Polacek of Evergreen Park, says Jackson and his wife conspired to deceive the public.
“Once the power couple of Chicago has now become infamous culture of public corruption,” he writes. “History proves Illinois is a cesspool of corrupt politicians and putting them behind bars does not seem to be a deterrent.”
Far outside Jackson’s former district, Larry Ettner of Lincolnshire says the former congressman and his wife gave little or no consideration to the voters who put them in office.
“If the Jacksons had not been confronted and caught, they would be living off others with little or no remorse,” he writes. “Thus they need to confront their crimes and be punished to the full extent of the law.”
The Jacksons face sentencing July 3.