Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"The Convict and The Congressman"

Posted on Tue, Dec 4, 2007 at 7:41 PM

 by Sam Winston

click to enlarge jackson-graphic-large.jpg

A Boca Burger box and a Pillsbury pie box are where FBI agents found the now famous 90 grand in cash in Congressmen Jefferson's freezer. But this encompassing article by Conde Nast Portfolio gives us plenty more to chew on. There's an FBI agent posing as a limo driver for the congressman, Nigerian political bigwigs, Jefferson, and former business partner Vernon Jackson all hanging out together at the Kentucky Derby "feeding $100 bills into betting machines," helping the Nigerians find "high-priced hookers."

Even more noteworthy, however, is

that if one is confused about the whole Jefferson scheme and his pending trial next month, this article lays the entire story out for us. Seen through the eyes of Vernon Jackson who is now in jail awaiting to testify against Congressman Jefferson, it is his story and testimony that will likely be most damning in the congressman's trial scheduled for next month.

"the story of the congressman with 90 grand in his icebox quickly became a national joke, another colorful example of Capitol Hill corruption. Yet the case would prove to have implications far more momentous than a punch line. In Washington, it would lead to William Jefferson’s indictment and a constitutional clash over the executive branch’s powers to investigate members of Congress. In Nigeria, it would scuttle Atiku Abubakar’s campaign to become the next elected leader of one of the world’s largest oil producers. And back in Louisville, it would upend the life of a flawed man with a promising idea. " - Conde Nast Portfolio

The article was in the November issue of the magazine but I just got time to give it a good read because it is fairly lengthy. Most damning for New Orleans were comparisons made to Nigerian corruption, which have been noted to be quite hefty...

"Was the cash ever meant to reach Abubakar? Or was it one final betrayal—a case of New Orleans ­corruption trumping Nigerian corruption?"

Click here for the full article, and you can also catch an interview on New York Public radio that the journalist, Andrew Rice, did discussing his reporting for the piece.

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