Members of Jesse Jackson Jr.'s family said this morning they are struggling in the aftermath of Jackson being charged with misusing $750,000 in campaign funds.
"We felt the impact of this court," said Jonathan Jackson today outside the Rainbow PUSH Coalition's Saturday Morning Forum at the group's Chicago headquarters. "The gravity has affected our family."
He said his brother is still following a medical regime from his illness. He said his brother, mother and father are in Washington D.C. and Jonathan Jackson said he planned to join them.
Jackson's sister Santita said, "We love our brother very much."
They said Sandi and Jesse Jackson Jr.'s children were aware of the developments involving their parents.
"They are part of the Jackson family. We will take care of them," said Santita Jackson.
The family said they were thankful for the public's prayers, and Jonathan Jackson said he hoped people would remember the good things his brother had done during his political career.
Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi intend to plead guilty to federal charges alleging the former congressman misused $750,000 in campaign funds while she understated their income on tax returns for six years, their lawyers say.
Jackson Jr., 47, a Democrat from Chicago, was charged in a criminal information Friday with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements. He faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and other penalties.
Sandi Jackson was charged with one count of filing false tax returns. She faces up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and other penalties.
Jackson Jr. is accused of diverting $750,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
Federal authorities allege that Jackson Jr. used campaign funds to purchase a $43,350 men's gold-plated Rolex watch, $5,150 worth of fur capes and parkas, and $9,588 in children's furniture. The purchases were made between 2007 and 2009, according to the criminal information, which authorities noted is not evidence of guilt.
Other expenditures listed by prosecutors include $10,105 on Bruce Lee memorabilia, $11,130 on Martin Luther King memorabilia and $22,700 on Michael Jackson items, including $4,600 for a "Michael Jackson fedora."
The government also alleged that Jackson Jr. made false statements to the House of Representatives because he did not report approximately $28,500 in loans and gifts he received.
"He has accepted responsibility for his actions and I can confirm that he intends to plead guilty to the charge in the information," Jackson Jr.'s attorney Brian Heberlig said.
Sandi Jackson is accused of filing incorrect joint tax returns with her husband for calendar years 2006 through 2011, reporting income "substantially less than the amount of income she and her husband received in each of the calendar years," with a substantial additional tax due.
Her attorneys released a statement saying she has "reached an agreement with the U.S. attorney' office to plead guilty to one count of tax fraud."
Jackson Jr. stepped down from the House of Representatives on Nov. 21, citing both his poor health and an ongoing federal probe of his activities. In a statement then, he said he was doing his best to cooperate with federal investigators and to accept responsibility for his "mistakes."
In a statement, Jackson Jr. said:
"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."
Sandi Jackson's attorneys released a statement saying she "has accepted responsibility for her conduct, is deeply sorry for her actions, and looks forward to putting this matter behind her and her family. She is thankful for the support of her family and friends during this very difficult time."
Jackson's father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., said he wanted to attend President Barack Obama's speech Friday at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago but traveled to Washington, D.C., instead, to be with family members while they waited for the federal charges to come down.
"This has been a difficult and painful ordeal for our family," the civil rights leader said.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he would "leave it up to the courts system" to determine his son's fate.
"We express our love for him as a family," he said.
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