“The bottom line is, I don’t know what sentence you’re going to get and you don’t know what sentence you’re going to get,” Judge Wilkins told Jackson Jr. inside the courtroom Wednesday.
Outside the federal courthouse, in a brief press conference, Jackson’s lawyer, Reid Weingarten, told reporters that he will ask Judge Wilkins for a fair sentence, saying Jackson is the father of two children and has a history of mental health problems.
“It turns out that Jesse has serious health issues,” Weingarten said. “… We are going to talk about them extensively with the court and those health issues are directly related to his present predicament. That is not an excuse. That is just a fact. And Jesse has turned a corner there as well.”
Standing directly behind Weingarten was Judy Smith. She never spoke to reporters but her presence was noticeable. Smith is working with the Jacksons, I assume, to prevent them from going to jail. Smith poured water for Jackson Jr. during the hearing and spoke with him before he walked into the courtroom.
According to court documents, Jesse Jr.’s campaign credit cards were used for $582,772 in personal expenditures, including a gold-plated men’s Rolex watch costing more than $43,000 and almost $10,000 in children’s furniture.
Other items include two hats belonging to the late singer Michael Jackson costing more than $8,000; a $5,000 football signed by U.S. presidents; and memorabilia from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and martial artist Bruce Lee.
Prosecutors said $60,000 was spent on restaurants, nightclubs and lounges; $31,700 on personal airfare; $16,000 on sports clubs and lounges; $17,000 on tobacco shops; $5,800 on alcohol; $14,500 on dry cleaning; $8,000 on grocery stores and $6,000 at drug stores, according to the Chicago Tribune.
As Jackson Jr. awaits his fate, so does his wife, Sandra, who pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return. Her offense carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. She will be sentenced on July 1.
Jackson Jr. and Sandra Jackson, the parents of two young children, are tangled in a high-profile scandal, which apparently requires the services of perhaps the best crisis manager on earth.
Indeed, this is a teachable moment for the entire Jackson family.