Rise and fall of Jesse Jr., Sandi Jackson's political dynasty

August 14, 2013 8:37:04 PM PDT
On Wednesday night, it appears the Jacksons are already laying the groundwork for life after prison.

ABC7'S Cheryl Burton details the rise and fall of this one-time power couple, as well as an exclusive conversation she had with Jesse Jr. on Wednesday night.

When Burton asked him how he was doing, he said: "I'm still here."

He then reiterated that, "I take full responsibility for my actions," and then he said "That's why I told the judge, spare my wife prison, give me her time so she can stay with the children."

When Jesse and Sandi Jackson met in the late 80s, Sandi was in Georgetown Law School and Jesse Jr. in law school at Illinois.

The aspiring politician convinced the Ohio native and former TV reporter to join him in Champaign. In 1991, the two married and merged into what some described as a political dynasty.

This was an interview in 2007, shortly after she was elected alderman.

"I am so excited to be working with him as his alderman to bring more services," said Sandi Jackson, in 2007.

"It's going to be different, I'm excited about bringing federal dollars so she can spend," said Jesse Jr. '

"Yes," said Sandi.

Congressman Jackson was elected to Congress in December of 1995 after winning a special election to replace embattled Representative Mel Reynolds.

In his 17 years in office, Congressman Jackson accomplished many things, including his perfect voting record and fighting for the airport in Peotone.

Last June, Jackson took a medical leave from Congress then a month later his office announced he was being treated for a bipolar disorder.

Then in November, he resigned from Congress. In February, both Jacksons plead guilty. But some political analysts say don't count them out just yet.

"I can see them running again, the Jackson name is powerful," said ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington.

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