Saturday, October 13, 2007

Congressman William Jefferson's Laughable Defenses

First there was ignorant Stan "Pampy" Barre trying to get the government to believe that he received money as consulting fees when everyone knows that an intellectually deficient human being as Mr. Barre could not possibly consult anybody on anything. Now we have Jefferson trying to get us to believe that he did not receive bribes. He and Barre are examples of educated and uneducated fools.
Make up your mind Congressman Jefferson. First, you wanted to go free because they would not let you pee. Now you are saying they lied because you did not take a bribe.

The judge in the federal case against U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, expressed skepticism Friday at the congressman's central defense that despite evidence that he and his family received nearly $400,000 in payments from companies seeking his influence in business deals, it doesn't amount to bribery.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III issued no rulings after the first round of oral arguments in the 16-count public bribery case. But he did raise questions when Jefferson's attorneys argued that the congressman's actions -- writing letters, traveling to West Africa and meeting with federal officials for paying clients -- can't be considered bribery.

"Using a congressman's influence is not a bribe?" Ellis asked defense attorney Amy Jackson.

Jackson conceded that Jefferson's actions might look bad and defy the "walking-around understanding" of bribery. But, she argued, Jefferson's actions don't violate the bribery statute as spelled out by Congress, which she said talks about "official acts," not every action performed by a congressman while in office.

"That may be people's walking-around understanding, but that is not the statute," Jackson said. "When Congress wants to be specific, it is."

The argument is critical to Jefferson's defense. He contends that he was carrying out a private business deal, not an official act of Congress, when he tried to help Kentucky-based telecommunications firm iGate Inc. land lucrative Internet service contracts in Nigeria and Ghana. IGate paid nearly $400,000 to the ANJ Group, a Louisiana corporation controlled by Jefferson's wife, Andrea, in addition to millions of shares of company stock.

If Jefferson is successful in getting the bribery counts dismissed, much of the government's
2 1/2-year-old case would unravel.

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