A resignation from Congress and jail time are reportedly part of a tentative plea deal U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is currently considering.
CBS Chicago reported Saturday that veteran criminal defense attorney and former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb is negotiating a deal that tentatively includes the congressman pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds, resigning for health reasons, repaying any campaign contributions that went toward personal expenditures and -- almost inevitably -- some jail time.
The negotiations are expected to be wrapped up by the year's end, according to CBS.
The day after Jackson was handily reelected, reports emerged that the congressman is engaged in "ongoing" plea discussions with the feds concerning improper use of campaign contributions. The Chicago Sun-Times' Michael Sneed reported that the investigation concerns a $40,000 Rolex watch the Chicago Democrat allegedly bought for a female friend, as well as funds said to have been used to decorate Jackson's Washington, D.C. home.
Members of Chicago's City Council, of which Jackson's wife Sandi Jackson is a member, criticized the congressman after news of the reported plea deal went public.
"To slap us in the face now, you just lied to us. You just lied to us. I feel so betrayed," Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) told NBC Chicago last week.
Ald. Deborah Graham (29th) told the Sun-Times she is "heartbroken" for Sandi amid the controversy.
"It’s a terrible time for her and her children," Graham told the newspaper.
The Jackson family -- as well as staffers seen inside the congressman's district office in Chicago -- have as yet declined to comment on the reported plea talks.
The congressman has been away from work since June and has remained silent on when he aims to return to Washington after re-admitting himself to Mayo Clinic for treatment for bipolar disorder last month.
If Jackson does resign from office, a special election would be held to choose his successor.
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