Jesse Jackson jnr charged with fraud

THE former Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson jnr has been charged by US prosecutors with misusing $US750,000 ($728,000) in campaign funds for purchases including a Michael Jackson hat and an Eddie van Halen guitar.

Mr Jackson, a 47-year-old Democrat and the son of the civil-rights leader, was charged on Friday in Washington with one count of conspiracy through a document known as a criminal information, a sign that he might have reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

His wife, Sandra Stevens Jackson, was charged in a separate case with filing false tax returns.

''Over the course of my life I have come to realise that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties,'' Mr Jackson said in an emailed statement. ''Still I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made.''

Prosecutors say Mr Jackson used the money to buy a variety of music and movie memorabilia and a $US40,000 Rolex watch. No court dates have been set.

William Miller, a spokesman for US Attorney Ronald Machen, declined to comment on the charges.


Mr Jackson, who ended a career of almost 17 years in the Congress by resigning in November, won a special election for a House seat in 1995.

In subsequent years, he never garnered less than 81 per cent of the general-election vote in his district on Chicago's South Side, until last year when he won a 10th House term with 63 per cent.

His wife resigned her Chicago council seat last month.