Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is likely to lose his pension and spend time prison if he pleads guilty to misuse of campaign funds, legal experts say.
Jackson could enter a guilty plea this week, the Chicago Tribune reported. Federal prosecutors say Jackson, D-Ill., faces as much as five years, while his wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, could get three years for filing false tax returns.
Proseecutors say Jackson spent about $750,000 in campaign donations for personal items. The couple's lawyers said Friday both planned to plead guilty.
Douglas Berman, an expert on federal sentencing who teaches law at Ohio State University, predicted Jackson would get about a year.
"His exposure -- the most he could properly get if the judge decides to throw the book at him -- clearly is at least five years and it may be significantly more," Berman told the Tribune.
But he said that Jackson's public remorse and his lack of any previous criminal record is likely to help him. He said Sandi Jackson could get probation.
Ken Gross, a Washington lawyer, said Monday that Jackson's admission of a crime involving public corruption will almost certainly mean the loss of his pension. Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayer's Union estimated Jackson, 47, would have been able to collect $45,000 a year, starting when he turned 62, based on his 17 years in Congress.
Jackson resigned from Congress in November.
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