Jackson family supports Jesse Jr.

February 17, 2013 4:38:50 AM PST
The brother and sister of Jesse Jackson Jr. talked about the emotional times for the family a day after Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi were hit with federal charges.

The former congressman is accused of spending $750,000 in campaign cash on personal expenses.

Former Alderman Sandi Jackson is charged with filing false joint federal income tax returns.

No one has been able to reach the former congressman. And Saturday his relatives took just a few questions from reporters, saying only that Jackson Jr. continues to battle bipolar disorder while awaiting sentencing on these charges.

At Rainbow PUSH headquarters, the Reverend Jesse Jackson Senior spoke by phone, telling the crowd he's in Washington with his son.

"His statement of contrition and responsibility and apology, I hope it is received well. This is a storm, but in time storms do pass over," the elder Jackson said.

There were also statements of support from Jesse Jackson Junior's siblings.

"We love our brother very much, and we support him," said Jackson Jr.'s sister, Santita Jackson. "As my brother Jonathan said, we will stand with him until the end of time."

The former congressman faces up to 57 months in prison, nearly five years, after pleading guilty to using $750,000 worth of campaign funds for personal use.

The list of lavish purchases includes furs, furniture and celebrity memorabilia.

His wife, former Alderman Sandi Jackson, has also been charged with falsifying tax returns.

"I think it's very sad any time anyone violates their oath of office," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. "They have a duty to the people to do things right all the time."

In the race to replace Jackson Jr. in Congress, gun control has emerged as a defining issue in the crowded Democratic primary, with female and suburban voters seen as key voting groups.

Debbie Halvorson, who opposes an assault weapons ban, was in south suburban Steger taking a gun safety class.

"I want to show other women how important it is that we learn the proper way to protect ourselves," she said

It's an issue central in the Republican primary, too.

"Gun violence, more often than not, especially in urban communities, it's about economic opportunity. It's about educational opportunities," said Republican candidate Lenny McAllister.

The former congressman and his wife will both be sentenced in Washington. A date has not yet been set and no judge has been assigned.

The family is perhaps hoping that Jackson's health issues could help him in terms of the sentencing.

"It's about economic opportunity, it's about educational opportunities. If we're not providing those, then then it's going to be gun violence or you going to still have gangs around. You're going to still lose lives," said Republican candidate Lenny McAllister.

Jacksons thank the public and supporters for their prayers and hope people will remember the good Jackson Jr. did during his political career.