William Jefferson Trial

New Orleans, La. – The government will argue that the nine-term congressman abused his power by soliciting bribes in exchange for getting business deals in Western Africa. What the jury seated last week will not hear is testimony from a key prosecution witness. Virginia businesswoman Lori Mody contacted prosecutors in 2005, complaining that Jefferson was demanding payments for his help in setting up a high-tech deal in Nigeria. It was Mody who passed on $100,000 in FBI-marked money to Jefferson. Some $90,000 of that cash was recovered from a freezer in Jefferson's Washington, D.C. home. The defense has indicated it would challenge Mody as being mentally unstable. Jefferson's attorney will also argue that the congressman's involvements are private deals not part of his official duties. The case could take up to six weeks.