WASHINGTON (CBS) — Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson will have to wait a bit longer to learn their fate in federal court, after a judge delayed their sentencing hearing on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson (no relation) held a conference call with prosecutors and defense attorneys on Monday, and postponed Wednesday’s sentencing hearing in Washington, D.C., according to court records. A new date has not yet been set.
According to an entry in court records in the case, “It is ORDERED that the sentencing hearing currently set for July 3, 2013 at 9:30 AM will be vacated to accommodate the Court and will be rescheduled in a separate order.”
Neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys requested the delay in sentencing.
Exactly why Judge Amy Berman Jackson delayed the Jacksons’ sentencing, could involve a sudden conflict in her court calendar, a personal matter, or simply that she needed more time to consider the sentences she was due to hand down.
“It could be some reports were outstanding, she wants more time to consider it, wants more time to look up some things after reading the latest pleadings came within the last few days,” said CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller.
To be sure it’s a complicated case, where the judge faces a range of issues and sentences for both Jesse and Sandi Jackson.
“The judge is saying look at all the good things those people have done. The judge on the other side is saying but look what will people think if I don’t punish them?” said veteran defense attorney Ed Gensen.
Jackson Jr., 48, has pleaded guilty to misusing $750,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses, while Sandi, 49, has pleaded guilty to failing to report that money as income on their tax returns. The two resigned from their elected offices before pleading guilty.
Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of four years in prison for Jackson Jr. and 18 months in prison for Sandi, although they have recommended the judge stagger the Jacksons’ sentences so both are not in jail at the same time.
Jackson Jr.’s attorneys have asked that he be allowed to serve his prison term first, due to his mental health issues, so that Sandi could work while he’s behind bars and stabilize their finances.
Jackson was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last summer, after taking an extended leave of absence from Congress. He did not return to work before he stepped down last November.
Federal prosecutors have asked the judge to allow them to seize the Jacksons’ homes in Chicago and D.C., as well as a retirement account worth nearly $80,000, to help pay off $750,000 in forfeiture, plus another $750,000 in restitution the feds have sought from the couple.
According to court records, the Jacksons have agreed to forfeit 24 items they bought with money they raided from the congressman’s campaign fund, purchased for a total of nearly $62,000. So far, they have turned over 12 of those items, which were purchased for a little more than $21,000, prosecutors said.
It’s the second time the Jacksons’ sentencing has been rescheduled. The former congressman’s sentencing originally was set for June 28, and Sandi Jackson’s sentencing had been set for July 1, after they pleaded guilty in February, but their hearings were later rescheduled for the same day.
It’s unclear why Judge Jackson postponed Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.