Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. told reporters on Tuesday that he and his estranged wife, Sandi Jackson, owe nearly $2 million in debt for legal fees, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Leaving a divorce case hearing in Chicago, Jackson blamed his financial woes on mounting legal bills from two divorce cases–one filed in Chicago by Jackson and the other Sandi filed in Washington, D.C.–on top of major legal fees related to his federal criminal prosecution case for misuse of campaign funds in 2013. In addition, Jackson pays child support and a mortgage on the couple’s home in Chicago, says the report.
“Growing out of the criminal case and now growing out of the divorce, we’re at based on our calculations, $1.8 million in debt,” he said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “That’s the reality, lawyers that we owe everywhere, two mortgages that we owe everywhere.”
Jackson previously served as a congressman for 17 years before taking a medical leave in 2012 for bipolar disorder treatment. During that time, he allegedly spent $750,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses, including vacations, furs, celebrity memorabilia and other items, according to the New York Times. Sandi faced her own legal trouble after omitting $580,000 on the couple’s tax returns.
Jackson was later convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison while Sandi was sentenced to 12 months.
Jackson spoke to reporters following the court hearing and admitted that the “expensive mistakes” he made over a 10 year period combined with the couple’s “time behind bars” destroyed their 25-year marriage. He claimed that he has since paid all the campaign money back that he misappropriated, though now he is “paying with his marriage.”
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Jackson and Sandi have not worked since they were released from prison, but Jackson has been collecting an annual federal government workers compensation of $138,400 and temporary disability, funded by American taxpayers, since his conviction.
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