Former Rep. William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who lost his seat in 2008 while he was under indictment for bribery and racketeering — and who was convicted of the charges earlier this year — was sentenced today to 13 years in prison for his crimes. Roll Call reports it is the longest incarceration ever ordered for a former Member of Congress.
The prosecution had asked for a 33-year sentence.
Prosecutors said that Jefferson took around a half million dollars in bribes, $90,000 of which were found stuffed in his freezer. The bribes were in exchange for his influence in helping to broker business deals in Africa.
Jefferson was defeated last year in his overwhelmingly Democratic district by Republican Anh "Joseph" Cao. Cao was in the news last week as the only Republican in the House to vote in favor of the Democrats' health-care bill.
At Jefferson's sentencing, Judge T.S. Ellis said, "Public corruption is a cancer. It needs to be surgically removed."