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Feds want 4-year term for Jesse Jackson Jr.

WASHINGTON -- Prosecutors on Friday recommended four years in prison for former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) following his guilty plea this year on criminal charges that he engaged in a scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items.

The government suggested an 18-month sentence for Jackson's wife, Sandra, who pleaded guilty to filing false joint federal income tax returns that understated the couple's income. The government also recommended that Jackson pay $750,000 in restitution to the campaign, and that his wife make a restitution payment of $168,000.

Because the couple has two children, prosecutors proposed that the sentences be staggered, with Sandra Jackson going first. According to the government, she could be out of prison in little over a year with credit for satisfactory behavior and required pre-release custody.

Both Jacksons are scheduled to be sentenced on July 3.

Jackson, who had been a Democratic congressman from Illinois from 1995 until he resigned last November, used campaign money to buy items that included a $43,350 gold-plated men's Rolex watch and $9,587.64 worth of children's furniture, and his wife spent $5,150 on fur capes and parkas.

In Friday's 45-page sentencing memo, prosecutors urged the judge to take into account the advantages Jackson, the son of a famed civil rights leader, had in his life. Jackson "chose to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars despite having advantages in life and financial resources that few possess and that most can only dream of obtaining," they wrote.-- AP

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