Judge throws out bulk of corruption case against freezer cash congressman
Posted October 5
WASHINGTON (CNN) — A federal judge in Virginia has thrown out multiple charges from a corruption conviction for former Democratic Rep. William Jefferson, and ordered his release from prison.
The ruling shows the judge ordered Jefferson be released immediately pending resentencing on two of the counts. The judge threw out seven of the 10 counts upon which he was convicted.
"We are continuing to review the opinion, but we are obviously very pleased that Judge Ellis has ordered Mr. Jefferson's immediate release," Robert Trout, a lawyer for Jefferson, said in a statement.
Jefferson had served in Congress for Louisiana's 2nd District since 1991 before the FBI received a tip in 2005 that he was allegedly using his position to solicit bribes.
According to an FBI review of the case, the former congressman was caught on camera taking $100,000 in cash to use as a pay off of an African government official. Additionally, the FBI found $90,000 of the cash in his freezer while serving a search warrant at his residence.
Judge T.S. Ellis vacated many of the charges based partly on the Supreme Court precedent set when it ruled to throw out the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
However, the judge ruled that prosecutors could retry Jefferson, but must notify the court by October 16.
In 2009, Jefferson was sentenced to 13 years in prison for bribery, among other charges, according to the Justice Department.