Former Chicago congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (C) enters the
U.S. District Federal Courthouse in Washington.
Former U.S. congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., the son of a
civil rights leader and a one-time rising star in Democratic
politics, has pleaded guilty to misusing about $750,000 in
Jackson, 47, of Chicago, wept quietly as he entered the plea
in U.S. District Court in Washington, where Judge Robert
Wilkins accepted the plea.
"Guilty, your honour. I misled the American people," Jackson
said after the judge asked his plea.
Jackson, who dropped out of public view last year and
underwent treatment for bipolar disorder, could be sentenced
to five years - the maximum allowed by law - under an
agreement with prosecutors.
Wilkins scheduled sentencing for June 28.
Jackson's father, Jesse Jackson Sr., sat in the front row of
a courtroom filled with family, friends and reporters during
the hour-long hearing on Wednesday.
The former congressman's wife, Sandi, is expected to appear
at a separate hearing at 2:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) and plead
guilty to filing false tax returns that did not report the
campaign money as income. She is a former member of the
Chicago City Council.
Born with a name that would be known across the United States
because of his father's activism and campaigns for president,
Jesse Jackson Jr. was once considered among the nation's most
promising black politicians.
He ran for Congress and won at age 30, serving from 1995
until resigning on Nov. 21, citing health reasons and
acknowledging he was under investigation by the FBI.
At the hearing, he expressed regret for living off his
political campaign's money for years. "I fully understand the
consequences of my actions," he said.
Jackson was accused of shipping a $43,350 men's Rolex watch
purchased with campaign funds to his Washington address. He
also shipped fur capes and parkas purchased with $5,150 in
campaign funds to the Beverly Hills home of an unnamed
person, the documents said.
Jackson disappeared from public view last summer and
speculation swirled for weeks about his condition. He said in
late June he had taken a leave of absence two weeks earlier
for treatment of what was described as exhaustion.
He issued a statement on July 5 saying his health problems
were more serious and he needed extended in-patient treatment
for unspecified "physical and emotional ailments."
On July 11, his physician said the congressman was receiving
intensive care for a "mood disorder" and was expected to make
a full recovery. The Mayo Clinic announced on July 27 that
Jackson had been admitted.
Jackson was treated for at least six weeks at Mayo for
bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depression. It is
marked by highs and lows of mood, and can be treated by
medication and psychological counseling.