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WWNO News Reports
Mon July 20, 2009
Jefferson Defense Set to Begin
By Eileen Fleming
New Orleans, La. – Attorneys for the former nine-term congressman are getting ready to present a defense that's not expected to take more than a couple of days. Prosecutors have told Judge T.S. Ellis that they expect to wrap up their case by tomorrow. They've called several witnesses who have testified that Jefferson helped them arrange business deals in western Africa, but only after paying Jefferson's family members with a share of the ventures. Jefferson has maintained that he was entitled to the business arrangements as a private transaction, not in his public capacity as a congressman. The case began in 2005 when a Virginia businesswoman contacted the FBI, saying Jefferson was soliciting bribes. Jurors saw him on videotape, taking $100,000 from her in marked cash. Most of the money was found in the freezer of his home in Washington. Jurors will be deciding if any of the 16 counts are true. For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming.