Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin (34th)
A supporter of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. on Thursday criticized the congressman's reported decision to seek a possible plea deal while running for re-election.
"To slap us in the face now, you just lied to us. You just lied to us. I feel so betrayed," Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) told NBC Chicago.
Chicago Sun-Times gossip columnist Michael Sneed, citing an unnamed source, published word of the plea deal late Wednesday, and said Jackson may also have used campaign funds to buy a pricey watch for a female friend.
Austin said the voters to re-elected Jackson to represent Illinois' 2nd Congressional District deserve to know the truth.
NBC Chicago has been unable to confirm the report or reach Jackson's offices for comment.
Federal prosecutors in October launched a criminal investigation of Jackson, Jr. involving financial improprieties, including possible misuse of funds monitored by Congress to decorate his Washington, D.C. Home.
Jackson's attorneys have met with federal investigators, but a criminal defense attorney unrelated to the case said he doesn't think prosecutors cared about Tuesday's election.
"I don't know if they gave him a pass until after the election but then they're not going to rush because there is an election to charge somebody either," said attorney Steven Greenberg. "They charge you when they're good and ready to charge you."
Greenberg said that if Jackson is working on a plea deal, he likely would be unable to avoid prison time.
Jackson recently returned to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for treatment of bipolar disorder.
If -- and there's no suggestion he will -- Jackson resigns from Congress, a special election would be held to replace him.
"He was an up-and-coming star," said University of Illinois Chicago political science professor Dick Simpson. "He had accomplished good things for his district. He was seen by everybody as someone who was going to move onto higher office."
The congressman's legal problems also seem to be taking a toll on his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th). She was a no-show at Thursday's hearing on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed city budget.