CHICAGO -- U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has apparently had a change of heart about breaking his long-maintained silence Wednesday amid reports of his ongoing federal probe and mysterious whereabouts.
Sources told Fox Chicago Tuesday that Jackson planned to hold a conference call briefing his Chicago- and D.C.-based staff concerning his political future at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Within a matter of hours, however, Rick Bryant, Jackson's chief of staff, denied that report to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Jackson spokesman Frank Watkins told NBC Chicago that the call may have been canceled due to concern that press had gotten the call's dial-in number previously distributed to staffers. No further explanation of the call's cancelation has been offered, according to CBS Chicago.
Anonymous sources told Fox that Jackson had reportedly chosen the Thanksgiving Eve date for the call because fewer journalists would be working due to the holiday.
Meanwhile, Jackson's whereabouts remain unknown. Though Jackson did make a quiet appearance in Chicago last month -- during which he fired a staffer for allegedly helping an independent candidate running against him -- he has been away from work and only addressed his constituents once -- via a robo-call -- since June. He has remained silent on when he aims to return to Washington after re-admitting himself to Minnesota's Mayo Clinic for treatment for bipolar disorder last month.
Jackson left the Mayo Clinic early last week, though he reportedly remains under the medical care of unnamed physicians at an undisclosed location.
Prominent Illinois Democrats are losing patience with Jackson as he and his staff and family have declined to comment amid reports of ongoing plea negotiations with the feds concerning allegations that the congressman used campaign contributions for personal use. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin are among those who have pressed Jackson on his silence in recent weeks.
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