Congressman Jefferson Sentenced to a Record 13 Years in Prison

18 November 2009 Publication

Further to our report of August 12, 2009, announcing his conviction on 11 charged counts of bribery, racketeering, and other counts, on November 13, 2009, former Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) was sentenced to 13 years in prison – the longest prison term ever imposed on a former member of Congress.

On August 5, 2009, Jefferson was found guilty of 11 charged counts, including solicitation of bribes, honest services wire fraud, money laundering, and racketeering. He was also found guilty of conspiring to violate the FCPA in connection with advancing a telecommunications project sponsored by iGate Inc. of Louisville, KY. However, under the same 16-count indictment, Jefferson was found not guilty of the substantive FCPA charge. Prosecutors alleged that he intended to bribe Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar with $100,000 – $90,000 of which was famously found stashed in Jefferson's freezer – in an attempt to steer telecommunications contracts to iGate.

Jefferson is the first U.S. public official to be charged with violating the FCPA. A nine-term congressman, Jefferson faced 150 years in prison. He is expected to appeal.