Jefferson Convicted of Corruption

Considering former Representative William Jefferson had $90,000 stashed in his freezer in 2006, the verdict may come as no surprise. Jefferson, a Democrat who represented parts of New Orleans, was convicted on 11 of 16 corruption charges involving soliciting bribes and other "pay-to-play" schemes on Wednesday. The next step is for a judge to determine Jefferson's sentence. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the judge has "meted out stiff sentences for lesser figures in the case," and that if convicted of all counts, he would have faced 235 years in prison. The government said that the $90,000 booty Jefferson had stowed away was intended for "Atiku Abubakar, then vice president of Nigeria, to gain his help with a telecommunications deal in Nigeria." A Republican now holds Jefferson's seat in the House; though he won reelection in 2006, when the corruption investigation was still fresh, Jefferson's disgraced reputation became a lightning rod for partisan clashes as the imbroglio deepened.