Former Rep. William Jefferson was sentenced to 13 years in prison in Alexandria, Va., in November 2009. Today, a panel of judges in Richmond is hearing his appeal.
Jefferson’s attorneys also argued in their request to appeal that the Supreme Court’s recent decision to narrow the application of the “honest services” fraud statute and the fact that Jefferson’s wire fraud conviction rests on a phone call made from Ghana to Kentucky are also reasons the sentences should be reversed.
The judges did question the government’s decision to include the wire fraud charge in a case that was prosecuted in Virginia.
King showed particular interest in Jefferson’s use of government limousines during a trip to Nigeria, his financial stake in the transactions and the former Congressman’s plot to bribe the vice president of Nigeria — including the $90,000 found stuffed in Pillsbury dough and Boca Burger containers in the freezer.
Jefferson “was willing to do anything to make money,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Lytle told the court.
Pending the panel’s decision, which is not scheduled to be released at a specific time, Jefferson could ask the full 4th circuit to hear his case or eventually appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.