Jesse Jackson Jr. released from halfway house, father says he's doing 'really well'
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. returned to his family’s Washington, D.C., home on Monday after leaving a halfway house where he lived for several months since serving 2½ years in prison for spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items.
Jackson, an Illinois Democrat, was released from the Volunteers of America halfway house in Baltimore in the morning and left in one of two black SUVs that were there for him. He traveled to his home in Washington, where family members say he’s expected to stay while on home confinement.
Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ed Ross said Jackson’s home confinement release is expected Sept. 20, after which Jackson’s wife, former Chicago city council member Sandi Jackson, is scheduled to serve prison time on a related conviction. On Monday, the former congressman showed reporters a tracking device he wears on his ankle. He briefly spoke to The Associated Press outside the family’s home when asked how he was doing.
“No complaints,” he said. “It’s a great day to be home … great day to be with my family and my friends, thank you.”
Sandi Jackson was sentenced to a year in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns that knowingly understated the income the couple received. In a concession to the couple’s two children, a judge allowed the Jacksons to stagger their sentences, with the husband going first.
Ross said that Sandi Jackson would be expected to surrender in October, or 30 days after her husband’s home confinement term expires. A Chicago-based attorney for Sandi Jackson didn’t immediately have a comment.
The former congressman must also spend three years on supervised release under jurisdiction of the U.S. Probation Office and complete 500 hours of community service.
The couple’s children attend school in Washington. Jackson Jr., is the son of civil rights leader, the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
“He’s doing really well,” the elder Jackson said in a phone interview from Chicago. “He’s close to permanent release. He is emotionally and physically strong. His family is delighted, and so are we.”
Jesse Jackson Jr. moved into the halfway house after his release in March from an Alabama prison. He pleaded guilty to one felony fraud count in February of 2013 and began his sentence in November.
Jackson served in Congress from 1995 until he resigned in November 2012. In June 2012, he took medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues.
The Jacksons spent campaign money on fur capes, mounted elk heads, a $43,350, gold-plated men’s Rolex watch and Bruce Lee memorabilia, as well as $9,587.64 on children’s furniture, according to court filings.
Jackson’s resignation ended a once-promising political career that was also tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions to raise campaign funds for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat. Jackson has denied the allegations.
Tareen reported from Chicago.
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