In court papers filed Friday, prosecutors urged a federal judge to sentence ex- Rep William Jefferson to up to 33 years in prison for his conviction on bribery charges.
Jefferson was found guilty in August of taking more than $478,000 in kickbacks in return for helping to arrange business deals in Africa. In their sentencing memorandum, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’ Office for the Eastern District of Virginia called his crimes a “stunning betrayal of the public trust.”
Prosecutors asked that Jefferson be sentenced to between 27 and 33 years in prison, a punishment they said would fall squarely within the federal sentencing guidelines. The amount of money involved in the alleged bribes contributed to the steep sentence, as did Jefferson’s position as a public official, and the number of participants involved in his schemes.
“While the guidelines sentence calculated by the Probation Office is lengthy, it is appropriate, in that Congressman Jefferson’s criminal activities have surely caused or substantially added to the loss of public confidence and trust in our nation’s highest levels of government,” prosecutors wrote.
The government also asked that Jefferson be remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshalls until his Nov. 13 sentencing, calling him a “significant risk of flight.”
Jefferson’s lawyers issued their own sentencing memorandum this afternoon, asking for a sentence of less than 10 years. The memo notes that no member of Congress has ever been sentenced to more than 100 months in prison, and that other sentences in the Jefferson investigation have been less than a decade.