Judge: William Jefferson to be released from prison immediately

7 of 10 convictions dismissed, re-sentencing needed for remaining 3

Chris Miller
October 05, 2017 - 10:54 am

A federal judge in Virginia has ordered convicted former congressman William Jefferson released from jail.

Judge T.S. Ellis threw out seven of the ten charges Jefferson, 70, was convicted on. A December 1 hearing has been set for re-sentencing on the remaining three.

A jury convicted Jefferson in 2009 on charges of corruption, in a sensational case that included an FBI raid on the then-congressman's New Orleans home, involving the recovery of tens of thousands of dollars from his freezer.

The charges accused Jefferson of taking money from officials of some western African nations in exchange for helping them land business deals in the U.S.

The judge said in his ruling that he overturned seven of the convictions in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding what constitutes an official act.

Although Jefferson faces re-sentencing on the three counts that stuck, Professor Dane Ciolino of the Loyola University School of Law said it's possible the five years Jefferson has already served would be sufficient punishment.

"Mr. Jefferson is a free man, certainly until December," said Ciolino, "and probably, likely, forever."

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