Lawyers for Jesse Jackson Jr. Say They Will Fight to Keep Divorce Case in Illinois

A court drama is unfolding in Chicago which has the potential to become a reality show-style divorce involving what was once one of Chicago’s most powerful power-couples.

On the heels of periods when they both served time in Federal prison, former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi, a former Chicago alderman, are suing each other in dueling divorce battles---she in Washington D.C., he here in Chicago.

During a brief hearing at the Daley Center in Chicago Wednesday, Jackson’s attorney Brendan Hammer pressed his client’s contention that the case belongs in Chicago. And in doing so, he dropped hints about potential bombshell allegations against the one-time 7th ward alderman.

“Personal jurisdiction over Ms. Jackson is appropriate, in light of acts committed by her in the state of Illinois,” Hammer said. “The acts…occurred during his convalescence, investigation, and incarceration.”

Indeed, in a recent court filing---Jackson’s attorneys stopped just short of spelling out that accusation.

“On or about March 21, 2015,” Jackson states in that motion, “I discovered evidence that Sandra had engaged in numerous acts in Illinois and/or with Illinois residents, that led to the irretrievable breakdown of our marriage.”

Jackson was hospitalized for exhaustion in the summer of 2012. He acknowledged treatment for a bipoloar condition that August, resigned from Congress in November, and admitted converting campaign funds to personal use the following February. In August of 2013, Jackson was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Hammer did not elaborate on what Sandi Jackson’s purported “acts” might have entailed. However, the court file shows Jackson has subpoenaed his wife’s cell phone records, with specific requests for phone calls and text messages since 2011.

Sandi Jackson has filed motions to have the Cook County divorce case dismissed, contending that she and the couple’s children have lived exclusively in Washington D.C. since 2013.

Through his attorney, the former congressman disagreed.

“Mr. Jackson has been, and is a resident of Illinois,” Hammer said. “He resides here in the parties’ home on the south side, he voted here in the last election, he has a driver’s license here, he is a resident of Illinois and he’s living here.”

The pair pleaded guilty to a list of felonies in 2013 and subsequently served staggered jail sentences.

Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty to charges he illegally spent campaign funds on a variety of expensive items, like a $4,600 fedora owned by Michael Jackson and a $1,200 reversible mink parka. Sandi Jackson pleaded guilty to a tax fraud charge that stemmed from the same case.

Sandi Jackson claimed in court filings last week that she is currently out of work, selling her belongings and borrowing from friends to make ends meet, while her husband has a monthly income of at least $10,250 a month.

Jackson said her husband is living in a house without a mortgage while their other mortgage is in arrears. She also claimed Jackson Jr. has failed to contribute to the mortgage or any household expenses since September, something the former Congressman’s lawyer refuted.

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