Rev. Jesse Jackson describes ‘difficult time’ for his family

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson says it’s been “an extraordinarily difficult time” for his family. He was in court today in Washington to see his son, former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., sentenced to two and a-half years in prison.

The younger Jackson had pleaded guilty in a scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign money on TVs, restaurant dinners, an expensive watch and other costly personal items.

His wife received a sentence of one year on a tax charge.

Jackson Junior had been a Democratic congressman from Illinois from 1995 until he resigned last November. In an emotional speech to the judge, he apologized and said he wanted to “take responsibility for my actions.” He said he misled the American people, the House of Representatives and the Federal Election Commission.

The judge told Jackson that as a public official, he was expected to “live up to a higher standard of ethics and integrity.”

Sandra Jackson will serve her sentence after her husband gets out of prison. The couple have two children, ages 13 and 9, and asked that they be allowed to serve at separate times.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press