Trial Update: William Jefferson's 'Honorable Explanation'

H/T BLT blog, via WSJ’s Law Blog

[In a new] filing, Jefferson’s legal team argues that the congressman was only placating [erstwhile business partner and FBI informant Lori] Mody, fearing that she might otherwise suffer an emotional collapse and jeopardize the otherwise legitimate business deal. Jefferson, they said, had no plans to actually follow through with the bribe.

Reads the filing:

Mr. Jefferson was aware that Lori Mody was emotionally fragile and suffered from unique difficulties and troubles. At the same time, he was faced with repeated requests, coaxing and cajolery from Mody, in which she pleaded with him to take actions – including increasing his family’s share in her Nigerian communications venture, or discussing payments to African officials – that she insisted were necessary to make her feel comfortable going forward with their business deal. . . . To the prosecution, his actions were motivated by a corrupt intent. But the evidence also supports the position that Mr. Jefferson’s actions were motivated by a desire to assuage Mody’s concerns and to keep the deal moving forward so that she and the other investors could achieve financial success. . . . [H]e told her that he would do what she wanted in order to avoid an emotional collapse that could also have destroyed the business, not because he intended to do it.”

Ooooooooookay. Well, then.

From the Times-Picayune, there’s this:

William Jefferson warned they could land in ‘pokey,’ tapes reveal

ALEXANDRIA, VA. — Jurors on Thursday heard the first secretly recorded conversations of the William Jefferson corruption trial, including a profanity-laced 2005 phone call in which Jefferson warns that he and the president of a Kentucky technology company could end up in the “pokey” if they oust the firm’s major investor.

“Lori isn’t stupid, ” Jefferson told iGate CEO Vernon Jackson about his plan to replace Mody with another investor in the wiretapped conversation. “She’s going to file suit. She’s going to say, ‘F — – no.’ ”

Jefferson was referring to Lori Mody, the Virginia businesswoman who had invested in iGate and who by the time of the Jefferson-Jackson phone call had been working as a government informant, secretly recording conversations with Jefferson. Her actions led to the 16-count indictment for which Jefferson is now on trial.

In response to questions by prosecutor Rebeca Bellows, Jackson, 58, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to bribing Jefferson, said he suspected the nine-term Democratic congressman feared a suit by Mody because it would expose activities Jefferson performed on behalf of iGate, which he described as “not aboveboard.”