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Former La. Rep. Jefferson convicted of bribery, money laundering

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A federal jury convicted former Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson on Wednesday of taking bribes in a case in which agents found $90,000 in his freezer.

Jefferson, 62, a Democrat who had represented parts of New Orleans, was accused of accepting more than $400,000 in bribes and seeking millions more in exchange for brokering business deals in Africa.

He was convicted of charges including bribery, racketeering and money laundering. He was acquitted of counts including obstruction of justice and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

He was the first official to be charged with violating that act, which makes it illegal to bribe foreign government officials.

Prosecutor Mark Lytle said Jefferson could face more than 20 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

Jefferson was under investigation since March 2005. In August of that year, FBI agents searched his Washington home and found $90,000 cash in his freezer, wrapped in foil and hidden in boxes of frozen pie crust.

Jefferson is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 30. The jurors must return to the courthouse today to consider whether Jefferson has to forfeit more than $450,000 in alleged bribe receipts.

Former La. Rep. Jefferson convicted of bribery, money laundering 08/05/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 11:28pm]

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