02/15/2013 03:03 pm ET Updated Feb 15, 2013

Jesse Jackson Jr. Charges: Federal Prosecutors Formally File Charges Against Ex-Congressman, His Wife

Updated story

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was charged Friday with violating federal law by misusing campaign funds -- and his wife Sandi Jackson was also charged with filing false joint tax returns.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Jackson is accused of conspiring with his wife, formerly a Chicago alderman, to divert $750,000 in campaign funds for personal use.

Politico reported earlier Friday that sources close to the case revealed Jackson conspired with his wife Sandi to illegally spend the campaign funds on personal expenses. Among the couple's improper expenditures: a $43,000 Rolex watch, home renovations, fur coats, cosmetic procedures, breakfast snacks and even beds for campaign workers. (Read Jesse Jackson Jr.'s full indictment document and Sandi Jackson's separate indictment.)

According to ABC Chicago, Jesse Jackson Jr. released a statement on Friday:

"Over the course of my life I have come to realize that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties. Still I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made. To that end I want to offer my sincerest apologies to my family, my friends and all of my supporters for my errors in judgment and while my journey is not yet complete, it is my hope that I am remembered for the things that I did right."

Per the terms of a plea deal, Jackson could face anything from probation to up to 58 months — or more than four-and-a-half years — in jail, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Sources previously told ABC Chicago that Jackson Jr.'s deal was signed Feb. 1 and specifically includes a guilty plea for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements. Attorney Tom Kirsch confirmed to the Associated Press that Sandi Jackson has pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud, a charge that carries a maximum three-year sentence.

Among those items Jackson Jr. allegedly purchased using campaign funds are thousands of dollars of Bruce Lee, Michael Jackson and Martin Luther King Jr. memorabilia, according to NBC Chicago.

HuffPost reporter Ryan J. Reilly has outlined additional details on how Jackson Jr. is accused of illegally spending campaign cash.

Sandi Jackson, 49, last month stepped down from her role in Chicago's City Council amid the scandal. Sandi signed many of her husband's tax forms when she acted as his campaign manager.

Jesse Jackson Jr., 47, resigned from office last November after going on medical leave from Congress for several months and seeking treatment for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic. Jackson had represented Illinois' 2nd congressional district since 1995.



Jesse Jackson Jr. Through The Years