Updated 11/08/12 – 12:13 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A key South Side Democrat is expressing anger in the wake of a published report that U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. might be seeking a plea deal with federal prosecutors probing his use of campaign funds.
On Thursday, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported Jackson Jr., is discussing a plea deal with the feds probing his alleged misuse of campaign funds.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), who is also a Democratic committeeman in Jackson’s district, said if Jackson really is seeking a plea deal, then Jackson deceived party leaders, who have backed his efforts to recover from bipolar disorder while keeping his seat in Congress.
LISTEN: WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports
“I think that he will make the best deal that he can for hisself, maybe perhaps even thinking of his family,” Austin said. “But you did not think about the people that you represent, which should be first and foremost. So whatever you come out with now, we are to believe it’s the truth? Absolutely not. Anything that he say from this day forward, for me, will be a lie.”
Jackson easily won re-election to his seat in Congress on Tuesday, despite an ongoing leave of absence that has lasted five months already due to his diagnosis for bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues.
He’s also facing a Congressional ethics probe over his attempts to be appointed to now-President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat, and is reportedly being investigated by federal prosecutors over possible misuse of campaign funds to redecorate his home.
Jackson spokesman Frank Watkins told CBS 2 he could not confirm the report.
Austin said she’s upset, because Democratic leaders have backed Jackson during his leave of absence from Congress, believing he had every intention of eventually going back to work in Congress.
“We had an absolute genuine concern that, let him heal, let him get to where the point that he needs to be,” Austin said. “And then all you did was use that to get to where you’re at now? ‘I’m going to make a deal’? Oh please. I think that that was totally unfair of him.”
Austin said she doesn’t think Jackson’s wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) necessarily knew what her husband was planning, if the report of a possible plea bargain is true.
Austin said she wants aldermen and other committeemen from the 2nd Congressional District to unify around a Democratic candidate for a special election, should Jackson leave office.