Sandi Jackson Pleads Guilty To Tax Fraud

Former Chicago alderman faces up to three years in prison

Former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson pleaded guilty to a tax offense, about three hours after her husband admitted to misusing campaign funds.

Jackson, wife of Jesse Jackson Jr., was charged Friday with falsifying a tax return and reporting less income than she made. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of three years.

"She saw this as an opportunity to put this behind her, to admit that she'd made some mistakes in judgement regarding the expenditure of campaign contributions, and so she made the decision to plead guilty today to one tax charge," her attorney, Dan Webb, said after the court appearance. "That's the only thing she pled guilty to because that's the charge the government filed against her."

Just as he did with her husband, Judge Robert Wilkins asked Jackson to verify that she read and understood the plea agreement filed last week.

"Yes sir, I've read every page," Jackson said.

They agreed that because she accepted responsibility for the charge, the sentencing guidelines likely would be lower than the three recommended years, but not guaranteed.

"I can give you three years in prison, regardless of what the guidelines say," Judge Wilkins warned. "Right now, you don't know and I don't know what your sentence will be. But you can't withdraw your plea because you aren't satisfied with the sentence."

Jackson said she understood. She was ordered to surrender her passport and report to a drug evaluation. The judge told her she must live in either D.C. or Chicago, not both.

Jackson resigned last month from her elected position as Chicago’s 7th Ward alderman. For years she received a $5,000 a month check from her husband as his political consultant.

Jackson's case was heard by the same judge who oversaw her husband's hearing earlier in the day.

Jackson Jr. admitted to spending $750,000 of campaign money for personal use and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements.

"For years I have lived in my campaign," he told the judge, "and I used money that should have been for campaign purposes and was used for personal purposes."

Jackson Jr.'s attorney told reporters he will do everything he can to soften the maximum five years the charges carry and said the former congressman's health is directly linked to his misconduct.

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