Intelligence Report: Jesse Jackson Jr. plea bargain negotiations have been going on for months

November 8, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The FBI and the Justice Department have had an open investigation of Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. for more than three years.

Jackson may have won re-election in Illinois' 2nd District on Tuesday, with 63 percent of the vote, but there are questions as to whether he will serve out that term.

In Washington Thursday night, federal law enforcement sources say that plea bargain discussions have been under way for months between Jackson's lawyers and the Justice Department.

Although nothing is final, plea bargains usually involved reduced criminal charges in exchange for a guilty plea.

This new information comes after the I-Team's reports last month that authorities were looking into whether Jackson used $100,000 in campaign funds to decorate his Washington home.

Federal law enforcement sources say there are new allegations he spent $40,000 in campaign funds on a Rolex watch for a female friend.

The eight-term congressman has already been slammed by House ethics investigators who found that in 2008 Jackson used staff resources in his Washington and Chicago offices were used to mount a "public campaign" to secure appointment to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama and that in doing so Rep. Jackson may have violated federal law and House rule.

As the federal criminal investigation appears to be in its late stages, Jackson continues treatment in Minnesota for bipolar disorder and it isn't clear when -- or whether -- he will return to Congress, although his website is offering tickets to President Barack Obama's January 21 inauguration.

The I-Team has learned that local election officials are preparing for a possible special election next year, should Jackson resign.

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