Finally! The Trial of Former Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA; IN HIS FREEZER!) Begins Today

After four years, two Congressional election cycles and numerous appeals, jury selection begins today in the trial of former Rep. William Jefferson (D-New Orleans).

VendomePlace.org has a good bibliography of news articles related to Jefferson and his extended family, a good number of whom (4, to be exact) are under separate RICO indictment for corrupt practices.

Times-Picayune article:

Trial of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson begins today in Virginia

Jefferson, who served nine terms in Congress before being ousted in December, is accused of 16 counts of bribery, racketeering and violation of the Corrupt Foreign Practices Act for allegedly demanding and, in some cases, accepting payments to family-owned businesses in return for his help winning approval of projects in several West African nations.

If convicted, Jefferson, 62, would likely face up to 20 years in prison. …

Defense attorneys have said that Jefferson’s actions do not meet the legal definition of public bribery because it does not involve “official acts” — votes, legislation or earmarks — by Jefferson in exchange for considerations. They say he was operating as a private citizen in helping to broker deals for worthy businesses. …

The case is best-known for the $90,000 in marked bills FBI agents say they found stuffed inside the freezer of Jefferson’s home in Washington, D.C., in 2005.

Jefferson has promised an honorable explanation for why the cash he took from [government witness Lori] Mody ended up stored in his refrigerator.

[emphasis added]