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November 10th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Should Congressman William Jefferson get 33 years in prison?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When the feds found $90,000 in Congressman William Jefferson's freezer - you had to figure something wasn't kosher. And sure enough... this slime ball had turned bribery, fraud and money laundering into a fine art.

Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)

Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)

The former Democratic congressman from Louisiana was convicted in August on 11 federal corruption counts - including bribing a Nigerian vice president on a telecom contract.

Federal prosecutors now want Jefferson locked up for as long as 33 years - which would be the harshest prison sentence ever for a member of Congress.

The Justice Department insists that his "stunning betrayal of public trust" is deserving of what could be a life sentence for this 62-year-old. And they want him to start serving his sentence immediately after Friday's hearing. He's now free on bond.

Of course, Jefferson's lawyers argue he should get a prison term of less than 10 years. After all, what's eleven federal convictions among dirty congressmen?

They say the government's recommendation is out-of-line with previous sentences for congressional corruption; and that it doesn't take into account the positive side of Jefferson's life and career. Wonder what that is.

Former Congressman Duke Cunningham, Republican of California, was given an eightyear sentence in 2006 for taking more than $2 million in bribes - along with tax evasion and fraud.

Maybe if the system began to come down harder on jerks like Jefferson who violate the trust placed in them by the people, future would-be scoundrels would think twice about filling their freezers with ill-gotten lettuce.

Here’s my question to you: Should 62-year-old convicted Congressman William Jefferson get 33 years in prison?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Daniel from Tennessee writes:
Lock him up and throw away the key! It'll serve as a warning for these arrogant, hypocritical so-called "servants of the people" to think twice about making deals behind closed doors that ultimately serve no one but themselves, their families, or other political or business-related cronies.

Gord from New Jersey writes:
We are clearly a nation of many laws, but we have a hard time with justice. 33 years is too much given how many no-doubt equally guilty congressmen have dodged jail or served less time for similar crimes over the years. Duke Cunningham was sentence to only 8 years despite being convicted of corruption five times the size of Jefferson's crime.

David from New Hampshire writes:
Yes, Jack… When are people going to realize that until you start handing down sentences that are actually a deterrent to the crime against the public trust, then the politicians will continue to break the law? If you ask me, any politician convicted of such crime should get an automatic life sentence!

AJ from Chicago writes:
No. He should have to make some other significant form of restitution. I don't think that prison time is appropriate for this type of crime.

Jeremy from Albuquerque, New Mexico writes:
Yes, he should, and he should have thought ahead and committed his abuses of U.S. citizens’ trust when he was younger. Non-politicians die every day in our prisons.

Silas from Boston writes:
33 years in one of our prisons at the taxpayers’ expense? No way. Give him 10 years in a prison in Nigeria at the expense of those who bribed him!

Joe from Delray Beach, Florida writes:
Supposedly, nobody is above the law. Still, at 62, he's a senior citizen. Give him a 10% senior discount. Yeah, 29.7 years sounds about right.


Filed under: Congress • Law Enforcement • prisons
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. Michael Alexandria, VA

    Given his age, no. Corruption should not carry a life sentence. All counts should be concurrent and the low range of the guidelines.

    November 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  2. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    Seems a bit harsh to me when others have done the same or worse and have gotten less time. 33 years sounds like a life sentence to me. If they want to go after crooks, they should start with Wall Street.

    November 10, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  3. Ray in Nashville

    Jack, if he's found guilty by a jury of his peers, then yes. By peers I mean fellow his citizens and not his fellow representatives who fought against his capital office being searched because they think that being a member of Congress makes them above the law.

    November 10, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  4. stephen blesofsky

    No, five years will do fine. No need for overkill.
    Unfortunately, he will not even get five years or close.
    The trend is to treat lawyers , doctors, "professionals" and celebrities more leniently, as they have lost their profession. Abuse of one's professional power or office warrants MORE severe punishment.

    November 10, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  5. Janice From NJ

    No matter your age, when you make a conscious choice to break the law and use your government position to break the law, you deserve what a judge or jury gives to you. If you had a chance to defend your position and had a fair trial, you deserve the sentance rendered PERIOD.

    November 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  6. Ed

    Yes. Additionally, the Feds should freeze his assets.

    Ed
    Texas

    November 10, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  7. Alex in Seattle

    Congress takes bribes every day from lobbyists. We have the best government money can buy. This guy is only going to jail because he couldn't figure out how to take the money legally.

    November 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  8. cy

    C'mon!! The man is 62 years old. They should sentence him to no more than 30 years. Tops. Where's your compassion? cy arlington, va

    November 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  9. keith in ky

    I think he should get a sentence equal to the number of years he was in congress, God only knows what else the scumbag did to the american people or which ever is greater!!

    November 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  10. Steve Canada

    He has been convicted and should do time..Generally giving 60 plus year old felons 30 plus years is silly...Perhaps round it off, say until he is 70..Its essentially a white collar crime, right?

    November 10, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  11. Jackie in Dallas

    I think we should leave that to the courts, Jack. As far as I know (and you haven't posted your commentary yet at 4:00 ET), his appeal is still pending on his conviction on 11 of 16 counts of bribery/corruption.

    Irregularities in the collection of evidence and his appeal means that, as all Americans are, he is entitled to his full due process of the law. Second guessing the appeal and the sentence is not your job, nor mine, Jack. Juries can only decide the guilt or innocence of a person - only the judge can sentence. If Madoff can face spending the rest of his life in jail (and he's 71), then so can Jefferson, if that is what the judge decides and the appeals court upholds.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  12. RJ from Lake,MI

    He`s a crook no less and if he can do the crime he should do the time no matter how old he is! Age is not a pardon reason for committing crimes!

    November 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  13. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Jack,

    the punishment must fit the crime and when reading about the two congressman and their different but yet similar crime why would a 90k fraud crime deserves a harsher sentence than a 2 million fraud crime.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  14. Colt

    Yes he should, I just wish we would of caught Bernie Madoff when he was 62. It seems an injustice that this guy will probably spend more time behind bars then him.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  15. joe m

    why the H- not! his lawyer's argument is at the heart of the problem with respect to political corruption. these creeps get these linient pusnishments, when in fact they should get harsher. they are not only engaging in a criminal enterprise, but in the process they betray the public trust that they had been given. lock this guy up for the max and maybe the next idiot who considers doing the same thing will think twice.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  16. Woody Lewis

    That sounds like a big/long sentence compared to what others have gotten!

    What did Madoff get, seven years?

    November 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  17. Dennis North Carolina

    no , it should be more.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  18. Bill - Bristow, VA

    Yep – he should

    November 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  19. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    the punishment must fit the crime and when reading about the two congressmen and their different but yet similar crime why would a 90k fraud crime deserves a harsher sentence than a 2 million fraud crime.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  20. Greg, Ontario

    I understand the anger that comes with broken trust but from a politician we shouldn't be surprised. Giving him 33 years would be the same as a death sentense. I would want to hurt him more than that. Take everything he owns or ever will own. No book deals or movies ...nothing. Nothing hurts a creep like that like a kick in the wallet.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  21. Katja, Bradenton, Florida

    Hell yes! Why should he be exempt from the law? Rangel should join him. then again most of the House and Senate should be in jail, for wasting our money!

    November 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  22. Richard Green

    Jack,

    He should get whatever prison sentence is appropriate. So should Karl Rove and the crime family of which he was apart. Jefferson's crime pales in comparison to the horrendous, uninvestigated crimes of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, Addington, Ashcroft, Tenet, McChrystal, Alberto Gonzales, etc., etc., etc.
    Jefferson took money. Bush et al took our country, our freedoms, our Constitution and violated them and us time and again.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  23. Wm, Penna

    Yes, Jack he belongs in jail. We would rather punish him than make him restore the money he stole. Lets put him a really nice federal prison with a golf course and time to write his book. The inmate pay is lousy but the medical care is good. The U. S. Marshall service gives you a tour of the country every so often so the travel benefits are better than we have. That will teach him we are tough law and order country but without common sense.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  24. Kevin Chayer

    Jack, I don't know if 33 years is appropriate or not. What would any other citizen get for the same conviction? What I know he shouldn't get is any Congressional pension, medical benefits, or privileges. No body should call him "Congressman" out of courtesy.
    Too often we have elected officials (consider Rangle of New York) who are corrupt and continue to reap hugh rewards courtesy of the American taxpayer. It's time to stop this rape of the American trust.

    Sincerely yours,
    Kevin Chayer
    Raleigh, North Carolina

    November 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  25. John in Santa Barbara

    This is a new day and in this day crooks go to jail for a long time. The message needs to be sent and the lawmakers need to be held accountable. The man is guilty, punish him and send the message to the rest of the crooks, "the hand writing is on the wall."

    November 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  26. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Let him rot. Someone needs to serve notice to all these selfish, thieving, political hacks that when you turn your back on the American people there is a steep price to pay.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  27. Robert Simonsen

    YES ! ! ! ! Unless they can add more charges and sentence him to a longer sentence.

    Houston, Texas

    November 10, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  28. Rob in NC

    Yes, but pretty much all of them should be – I see little difference between outright bribes and outright lobby money, both are paying for what they want. There is a pattern forming here as more and more of our "public servants" serve THEIR private needs. Rob in NC

    November 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  29. Rory Murray

    Jack,
    Not unless Dick Cheney is tried and convicted for Treason and War Profiteering. Not unless Hank Paulsen and the crooked Bankers and Wall St. executives pay off every taxpayer dime. Not unless the cowards Reid and Pelosi are run out of office for accepting bribes...I mean "contributions" from the Insurance lobby. And selling out America.
    They are every bit as guilty. Even more so!
    Rory Murray
    San bernardino, CA

    November 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  30. mary stewart,arlington texas

    we can send him to prison but he will get all his retirement and its alot.......what a country....what a message

    November 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  31. Michael Pressey from Essex County NJ

    NO! if he sentenced for that amount of time it would scream racism ! as you state one congressman received eight years for double the amount and no doubt of cacusian descent !!! Yes he should go! Better yet we the people should demad term limits of All our politicians to ..TWO TERMS..1 ONE IN OFFICE..2 ONE IN JAIL

    November 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  32. John Ca

    33 Years Is A Long Time to go to Hell!

    November 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  33. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    All politicians are sleazebag crooks but to actually so flagrantly ignore the law and take advantage of his position to the point where he is prosecuted and given the longest sentence ever, he should earn him some kind of Congressional Lifetime Achievement Award. He has set the bar so high for all thse following him they are going to have to get really creative to top him. Good job Bill.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  34. Jerry

    YES Jerry/ Iowa

    November 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  35. Remo from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Tx.

    Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. Book him Dan O!

    November 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  36. Donald

    not at all most politician just resign office and other get from one year to eight years unless there is a double standard between white and black politician. I don't understand this 33 yrs. while wall street gets a bonus.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  37. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN

    I don't have a problem with Jefferson getting 33 years. He committed a crime and I think it's time that elected officials start doing the time for the crimes they commit. As far as I'm concerned there isn't an honest politician alive today. Every one of them should do time.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  38. Gigi Oregon

    It hardly seems fair when half if not more of the last administration should be going with him. For their own crimes against the people.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  39. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    First of all Jefferson's assets should be stripped from him and his family because its all dirty money whether it really is or not. Thats part of the punishment.
    Thirty three years is alot. People who have murdered have gotten out before that.
    Serve 10 years and let him live the rest of his life in shame and broke.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  40. Barbara NY

    The number of corrupt politicians is astounding. Should Jefferson serve a 33 year sentence? No, not unless Wall Street executives, Banking exceutives, Credit Card company excecutives and the Insurance cartel executives are in the cells next to him.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  41. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    You do the crime, you do the time!! It is time we really went after our corrupt officials!!

    November 10, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  42. Myra Becnel

    Although I live in Hawaii, I am a native New Orleanian and my entire family are still there. He certainly is a greedy, corrupt politician but just one of many before him and many still out there. Although I would like to see all the political crooks in jail for a very long time, what is so special about Jefferson to warrant such a long and harsh sentence?
    Put the creep in jail and never allow him to be in a position of trust again. But, 33 years?

    November 10, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  43. Mari Fernandez, Utah

    What a crazy justice system we have, this man will get 33 years for BRIBERY!

    And two young white men, beat an undocumented immigrant to death, and get THREE YEARS!

    Justice?

    November 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  44. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Yes Jack, and let the investigations continue !!! Our nation has been glacial in such judicial investigations as well !!!

    November 10, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  45. Johnny C (Los Angeles)

    Hi Jack –

    He deserves the same time as any other person caught by the law ... plain and simple.

    It is a shame that "Thumb Screws" cannot be used anymore or to show that whole activity on TV. Besides Jail Time ... he should be humiliated as an example to all. Maybe then our political elite will think before cheating!

    November 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  46. Mike S., New Orleans

    Like many of my fellow New Orleanians, I've watched for decades as Bill Jefferson and many in his family – some already convicted, some awaiting trial – enriched themselves at the taxpayer's expense. Racketeering is organized crime and that's the life he chose. He made his bed, let him lie in it.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  47. Meg from Troy

    Jack–
    He should definitely go to prison–but 33 years may be overkill–no pun intended.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  48. perry jones

    the question is did he do the crimeand if he did then he should do the time or are the members of our government not the same as the people that elected them are we to pay for our mistakes and they not

    perry jones
    council bluffs ia

    November 10, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  49. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Jack
    It works for me. I am a life long Liberal Democrat and Mr Jefferson was once upon a time my Congressman fighting for policies I believe in.
    That said, I HATE a thief about worse than anything except a rapist, a child molester or a murderer. So Heck Yes! Lock him up and toss the key to the neares gator.
    Pablo
    Arlington Texas

    November 10, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  50. Denis Duffy

    No, Jack. He should be executed in public and every politician in Washington should be forced to attend.

    Denis
    Pittsburgh, Pa

    November 10, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  51. John from Fort Worth

    He should get the maximum allowed under the statute. It is time Congress was held to the same standard as the rest of us. Maybe this will send the message that they are there in service to our country and not to get rich.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  52. Dan, Chantilly VA

    Past mistakes are no excuse for future mistakes. I don't care if this punishment reverses a previous trend if it's the right thing to do. While we're at it, let's start jailing everyone in Congress who is on the take. We might have to hold 400 special elections in 2010, but it would be worth it.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  53. Melvin Harper

    YES< YES as long as the prison he goes to has room for 536
    more inmates.

    November 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  54. Sue from Redwood City

    I think that's a very good idea. Lock him up for the rest of his rotten life and don't allow any computer priveleges either. I already get enough scammer spam!

    November 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  55. Naren

    Absolutely. Corruption among our elected officials seems to be so prevalent these days it has lost its shock value on evening news reports. This guy should have known better and betrayed the trust of every voter out there. He is no different than a common criminal. Everyone needs to know that if you are elected to government you are accountable for your actions. I have zero sympathy for this type of business.
    Warren, NJ

    November 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  56. Glenn Marcel

    And infinity in hell.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  57. Scott

    Don't be rediculous – he's from New Orleans. Thats how they do things down here. No worse than Morial, Edwards, Long, et al.

    Scott
    Nawlins, LA

    November 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  58. Joseph Martinez

    Sounds like Congressman Jefferson would make a good cell mate for Bernnie M.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  59. Mike from Denver

    Considering that Duke only received eight years for $2Million, no. Don't get me wrong, these sleaze need to face tougher penalties. Hitting them in the wallet would be a start, such as forfitting benefits to include paying back the salary they received for holding public office.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  60. Floyd

    Yes he should get the time if it was a white man he would get more, throw the book at him, they need to get Charley rankle out and Mackenzie water and the other black,s that are crook,s, it time the people stand up and be counted, whats wrong with our government are they all crooks.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  61. David in GA

    Yes he should.

    David in GA

    November 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  62. T. Thomas in Abilene Tx.

    Let's see:Cong. Jefferson gets 33 years, but the Justice Dept won't even prosecute the Bush Admin. for their "stunning betrayal of public trust" . Doesn't seem quite fair to me.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  63. david doherty

    Yes Jack, every single day, or at least as long as he lives. When are people going to realize that until you start handing down sentences that are actually a deterrent to the crime against the public trust, then the politicians will continue to break the law. If you ask me, any politician convicted of such crime should get an automatic life sentence!
    Dave from NH.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  64. Linda in Arizona

    No, I think it's way too harsh. Do you think he's the only money crook in Congress? What is it about him that's got you so het up, Jack? He doesn't even raise my "Ire-meter" to warm.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  65. SandH - Pekin, Il.

    No. If Republican Cunningham got 6 years for a $2 million dollar fraud, then Jefferson should get only 6 months. Fair is fair.
    While you are at it, let's think, how many years Dick Cheney should get for all of the no bid contracts for his company, Halaburtin, in Iraq.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  66. DAE Emert L.H. PA

    Dont do the crime if you cant do the time. Yes he should do the max. Along with all in politics who brake the law.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  67. Ronald Holst

    If he is guilty Then Yes ,To bad they wont try war crimes in this country !!
    Ron San Antonio

    November 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  68. Mark, Worcester MA

    His "positive side" shouldn't matter. His occupation shouldn't matter. His age should not matter. All that matters is if he did it. He should be treated as any other convicted felon would be.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  69. EugeneWiese

    Save the taxpayers,and let Jefferson go. Make him do some community service for the rest of his life and pay a fine that does not jeopardize his decendents/family. This could be a no brainer for future crime. Gene

    November 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  70. Jackie in Dallas

    I think we should leave that to the courts, Jack. As far as I know, his appeal is still pending on his conviction on 11 of 16 counts of bribery/corruption.

    Irregularities in the collection of evidence and his appeal means that, as all Americans are, he is entitled to his full due process of the law. Second guessing the appeal and the sentence is not your job, nor mine, Jack. Juries can only decide the guilt or innocence of a person – only the judge can sentence. If Madoff can face spending the rest of his life in jail (and he's 71), then so can Jefferson, if that is what the judge decides and the appeals court upholds.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  71. mskirby

    He sould get the rest of his life in prison he did 2 crimes m 1 stealing 2 trying to keep collecting from tax payers if people like that were not around the woUSA would be better off

    November 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  72. Doug - Dallas, TX

    The slime ball is guilty and should do the time. Maybe if we actually punish these guys for their crimes others might realize it isn't worth it. Of course, if pigs had wings they could fly!!!

    November 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  73. NC Jeff

    Most definitely Jack. Not to set an example but because 11 counts warrant it. No free rides for slime ball corrupt elected officials. If it was you or I what would we get?

    November 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  74. JENNA

    Should 62-year-old convicted Congressman William Jefferson get 33 years in prison?

    If the crime committed warrants it then sure.

    But if he is getting 33 years to make him an example, then no.

    Actually I would like to have every member of Congress in both the House and Senate to be investigated. Let's get rid of all the crooks!

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    November 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  75. Homeless D

    If he was stupid enough to hide ill-gotten gains in his FREEZER, he's probably too stupid to notice that he is locked up, so what difference does the length of the sentence matter?

    November 10, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  76. Daniel Tennessee

    Does a bear defecate in the woods? Hell yes Jack!! Lock him up and throw away the key! It'll serve as a warning for these arrogant, hypocrital so-called "servants of the people" to think twice about making deals behind closed doors that ultimately serve no one but themselves, their families, or other political or business-related cronies.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  77. Layne Alleman

    Jack, Who the hell believes that our legal system is Fair and Just? The sentencing has ALWAYS been out of control (except for those with clout). This guy has been left hanging in the wind for whatever the reason, and will pay the price. Welcome to the U.S.A. justice system. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  78. Paco

    8 years for 2 million in bribes. 33 years for 90,000 in bribes. Blacks traditionally get harsher sentences than whites in this countruy, so why not. 33 years it is.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  79. Nancy, Tennessee

    Our trust has been betrayed and the crimes that Jefferson has committed should land him in prison with the rest of the thieves. Thirty-three years in prison sounds reasonable when you think about what legislation he may have voted on at the will of his bribers instead of the will of the people. We need to send a message to the people who want to get elected for their own gain. They need to find a different profession to hide behind.

    November 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  80. richard maury

    Send the bastard to jail

    November 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  81. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    Yes he should, and he should have thought ahead and committed his abuses of US citizen's trust when he was younger. Non-politicians die every day in our prisons.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  82. Richard

    Mr Jefferson and all other "legislative members" deserve the stiffest penalty possible. However, all punishments should be equal to all.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  83. Annie, Atlanta

    Personally, I don’t care if he’s 82. You do the crime, you do the time. Now when will the DOJ go after the Bush Administration for war crimes (or the Hague if need be) and Wall Street for the biggest swindle in American history, funded by “we the peons?”

    November 10, 2009 at 7:08 pm |
  84. Richard

    I failed to include mys city and state:

    Richmond, California

    November 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  85. Kevin M.

    Yes! This will send a sign to current, and future elected officials that you CANNOT get away being corrupt in America.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  86. Ted S.

    YES, start sending all of these crooks away, I don't care if they are 90 yrs old. Do the crime then do the time!!!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  87. AJ - Chicago, IL

    No. He should have to make some other significant form of restitution. I don't think that prison time is appropriate for this type of crime.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  88. Isiah Samuels PA 16

    yes he should get 33 years in prison he stole 99,000 and hid in his freezer

    November 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  89. Liz

    Hell yes he should serve the time. If a non public citizen was caught doing this they would roasted. How dare the law system change the laws and sentences for "celebrity/public figure." The more money you have the easier they are on you. NOT ANYMORE!!! This country is corrupt, realize it.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  90. Malcolm Duncan, Battle Ground, IN

    No, I think the death penalty would be a more effective deterrent to corruption by government officials – and I generally do not vote with republicans on much of anything.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  91. ganesh nadarajan

    Jack, what would the point of sentencing him 33 years because he has a 49/50 chance of dying in jail and i think a life sentence with a chance of parole would be somewhat good.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  92. Isiah Samuels PA 16

    yes he should get 33 years in prison he stole 99,000 and hid in his freezer and he did something bad thats wrong.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  93. David Newman

    Give him at least 20 years, make an example of him, and make sure there is room for Rangel and Dodd and the other crooks who permeate our so called leadership.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  94. Silas Kain - Bost

    33 years in one of OUR prisons at the taxpayer's expense???? NO WAY! Give him 10 years in a prison in Nigeria at the expense of those who bribed him!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  95. Jeff

    I'm with you Jack, send them [congress] a clear message; throw the book at him!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  96. Arden Cogar

    How many ways are there to say "YES".

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  97. John Sirotti

    YES !, and I hope doesn't reveice a pension / retirement.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  98. Bryan Newport News, VA

    He should get 333 Years in prison. Maybe others will think twice about compromising thier integrity for a little spending money. But probably not, since they have none to lose in the first place.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  99. Steve - Mich

    YES JACK,
    Because we should always set a precedent of Giving Democrats Much worse punishments for same crimes than republicans such as the one of many you listed -Duke Cunningham.

    If we dont hammer the Dems for the same offenses as republicans, how can we feel good about giving lighter sentences to the republicans???
    Hmm? How?

    November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  100. Herb Calhoun from ABQ, NM

    Yes, lock him up for as long is suggested.....33 years. This is how the American people feel about members of Congress.....they use the platform for nothing but...GAIN for themselves. Just look at the Healthcare Bill and what graf will come out of that.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  101. Zach

    Jack,

    Jefferson didn't accidentally stumble across this money. He has demonstrated a sustained pattern of remorseless corruption, with no intentions of stopping.

    I say, lock him up and throw away the jail.

    Zach, Kerrville TX

    November 10, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  102. Jeremy

    Jack – Absolutely....I believe 33 years is a light sentence for betraying the public, no telling what he was able to get away with, 33 years just for what we know....sounds great to me, he's a scum bag.

    Jeremy – Baton Rouge

    November 10, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  103. Ron Clark

    He should get at least 50 years for all the stuff he did not get caught doing. He is a disgrace as anyone in that position would be.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  104. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack jefferson is just one on many thieves in congress. Next you will be wanting to have them all arrested. If we did that then we would have to raise taxes on the American people just to build enough prisons to hold them all. Shhh damit Jack we have a Health care bill to pay for..

    November 10, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  105. JALL

    Well, 33 years seem to be out of line for $90K. Maybe he should have taken $2mil and he would have gotten 8 years. Not sure justice is equal here. Are we comparing apples to apples? They both took bribes. Why such a disparity here...did I miss something?

    November 10, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  106. Bill, New York State

    Jack, you've gone too far. You're telling me what my opinion is suppose to be and I won't stand for it! So I'm going to give you MY opinion, not yours. My opinion is: YES, they should throw the crook in jail and, while they are at it, they should throw the key away! There, I feel better already.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  107. Don

    YES!!!!! It is becoming more apparent of how corrupt our elected officials have become. Let them feel the wrath of the judicial system as other criminals have.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  108. Will

    You bet yah! Heck, I say send the whole lot of them straight to jail, and then maybe the ones left will get the message and start doing the work of the people, and not that of the huge campaign contributors.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  109. irving

    The 33 years in prison is a reasonable sentence for betraying this country. This would also set the foundation for harsher punishments in the future.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  110. Charles Manley

    As to your question: Should the "honorable gentleman" receive the fullest and most lengthy punishment available.

    As your "hint" was not clear I will have to go out on a limb here and say:
    YES, YES, YES... Lock up this jerk and EVERY jerk who breaks the public trust and the law!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  111. Natalie

    How can this public servant continue to serve his country? By being accountable and serving his time. 33 years is not out of line with previous sentences for congressional corruption, the previous sentences were what was out of line. 33 years sounds just about right. Three years per offense, served consecutively.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  112. Dan from Peekskill

    How can he? All politicians are on the take. They are doing the same thing as this congressmen did every time they are allowed to take money from any organization, corporation, lobbyist or group. It must get confusing for Congressmen after a while not knowing the difference between legal and illegal bribery. But lets call it all what it is: Bribery. None of us are represented.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  113. Mykal

    I do believe he should get about 10 yrs for what he did BUT so should all the other politicians who is collecting money from the lobbyist .I am not seeing the difference of what Jefferson did and what the rest of them is doing ,why arent they being arrested .a bribe is a bribe is a bribe no matter under what circumstances its still a bribe

    November 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  114. C. Spencer

    If the man who stole 2 million dollars only got about 10 years, why should William Jefferon get 33 years. I pray it is not a thing where we have to teach people a lesson by way of a Black man. Just wondering if that is it. All men should get equal justice and equal rights. thanks

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  115. Sandra - Illinois

    Yes, yes,yes/! I have watched the actions of this "so called leader" and all I see is creed, selfish acts and no regard for the people he is supposed to represent. He is not only a criminal, but during Katrina he was more concerned about his own interests than those people who put him in office. He conspired to line his own pockets and broke the very oath of office he took as a representative.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  116. Amanda

    Should that even be a question? No government official should be treated better than any other citizen. People who are voted into office are supposed to play by the rules. They know that from the beginning. They also know they will be under a microscope for their career and often the rest of their lives. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to punish them more for sheer stupidity of thinking that they could get away with something like this.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  117. Steve

    Absolutely No

    He does deserve to pay for his crimes. But if he get 62 years in jail for his crimes then George W. Bush deserve 100 years for every American solder her had killed because his outright lies to Americans and the World. And every politician who do nothing and allows 40,000 sick Americans/voters to die from no health care annually.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  118. Larry Ikon

    Jack! I say NO! White Congressman steals millions and gets 8 years, Black Congressman steals less and all of a sudden we want to "Make an Example" of him with 30+ years? While I agree that Congressman Jefferson is indeed scum and deserves every bit of disgrace that he and his family will endure, the same sentence that any of his White Peers have appreciated should do just fine!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  119. Calvin

    Former Congressman Jefferson should receive the same punishment as his white counterparts have received for betrayal of public trust. It is too easy for our government to make an example out of a black man while finding excuses for the white man to have lesser sentences. It is about time for our government to make examples out of white men – then all congress people will think twice before turning to corruption.

    Calvin Roach
    Sierra Vista, AZ

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  120. Ernest

    NO !. The man didn't kill any one. He may have broken the law but what crook in Congress hasn't. I am outraged that you Mr. Cafferty would make such comments as you have just stated. Lets not forget that Mr. Jefferson was not convicted for the count involving the money in the freezer anyway. You give others of a different race or color a slap on the wrist and now you want to bury this man under the jail . How dare you. You are neither judge nor jury.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  121. Ayo Adene

    The answer is Yes, Congressman Jefferson should be put in the freezer for 33 years. More importantly, the Nigerian government needs to follow the American example and levy the same weight of retribution on its citizens when they abuse the public trust.

    From Abuja, Nigeria.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  122. Festus Ekpen

    Do the crime, do the time! Or what lesson do you want us to draw here as we hopefully expect our government to put his Nigerian accomplice on trial! Away with bad rubbish

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  123. Liz Sparr

    Yes....but the more important question is....will they stop his congressional pension? I hear that even with a felony conviction,our government officials continue to draw a pensions! I hope I'm wrong on this.....

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  124. Gregory Toms Atlanta,GA

    The harshest sentence for a black congressman. What a big surprise.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  125. Randal Coon

    YES, I am sure that William Jefferson, former Congressman from the New Orleans are, and and will be given at least 33 years in prison, and no doubt die there.

    The sad thing, if that is allowed to be mentioned, is that Bill, 30 years ago, when I was still a LA. Senate Aide [not his] was considered and in fact was one of our BEST Senators in the state of Louisiana. Liberal, yes, but most of Louisiana was too, at that time. His record shows good work in the "US Congress.

    But he fell prey to the love of money, "the root of all evil" according to my Christian faith, and it WASTED most of his good work. What a severe shame that this VERY COMMON hamn failure an do to amlost anyone. Let's pray no more. Randy, Shreveport, LA.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  126. Chukky Nwanosike, Seattle WA

    Hi Jack,
    The most important thing here should be a punishment long enough that will prove to our elected officials that they are not "untouchables."
    Mr. Jefferson needs to serve a short term not more that 5 years with a longer community service term – which should include cleaning the capitol hill for 2 hours everyday for not less than 10 years.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  127. AJ

    I'm not sure why his age should matter. If he's guilty, you bet he should do the time. What ever happened to the idea of holding people accountable for their actions? Pardon me while I rant, but I'm tired of excuses for such inexcusable behavior.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  128. Mike

    Refrigerator/Freezer? Talk about cold hard cash!!
    This jerk should get one year for every dollar in that freezer.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  129. Carole in West Palm Beach

    Jack, this is a NO BRAINER! Anyone who takes an oath of office and betrays his oath, office and the public trust must be held accountable and held to a higher standard. Too many, who hold power and authority, abuse their offices for their own agendas. No wonder people mistrust politicians.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  130. Todd

    The answer is no!!! We all know that politicians are corrupt and harsh sentences should have been done for the worst of them long ago. However, that is not going to happen in this case and it shouldn't. If it does, then there truly is a double standard when it comes to african americans.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  131. Rocky

    Yes – We need to start treating criminals like criminals – especially those with power and those working in a position where honesty and integrity should be at the core of their values...Like serving the people.

    We need to get the people that are supposed to serve the people to govern with values or they should not be in politics.

    BTW – He should start NOW.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  132. Peter

    Jack: We have political bozos here in Canada too. I have no sympathy for thieves, especially when elected to serve the public trust. No jail term is too long for these people. It's the only deterrent some people understand. The risk of a long sentence just might keep some of our politicians "honest".

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  133. Nick, Longmont CO

    YEs Jack, not only does William Jefferson should go to jail for 33 years, but many members of Congress who for years have been taking cash "contributions" from Lobbyists. We have seen over the past several decades how Congress has gone from serving the people to serving the special interest groups. The ultimate handiwork is in the 2,000 pages we call the House Health Care Reform Bill We can also cite TARP, the Stimulus bill, the changes in the bankruptcy laws which favor the banks, no mortgages can be modified in bankruptcy (again because of the bank) and our favorite the deregulation of the banking industry which led to our current economic disaster. What Congress has done is legal under the rules, but if they did the same acts as private citizens they would be in jail.

    So, I hope there is room in that federal prison for Mr. Jefferson, all teh Wall Street crooks who have not been brought to justice (they should be) and all the member sin Congress who became millionaires at the expense of the American people..

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  134. Judy Kauffman

    Yes, Jefferson should get the 33 years in prison. His current age is irrelevant. What age was he when the public trusted him enough to put him in office? A cheater is a cheater, and he knows the law and knows his actions were illegal; otherwise why hide money in the refrigerator? Most of us put our hard won earnings in the bank!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  135. Ted Murray

    Hell yes, at least 33 years, should be more. We must demand respect from our elected officials.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  136. Evan Paul

    HARDLY ENOUGH TO SEND THE COMPETE MESSAGE,JACK.

    Strip him of his benefits and force a public admission to the details of his actions.

    He has betrayed the public trust and he must make the public aware that he is but on.y one of those who do it with great regularity.

    Americans deserve far better than simply accept that an election delivers them the right to representation. It should assure them representation they can bestow there TRUST.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  137. sheila

    I don't think he should receive 33 years in prison. All of a sudden the Justice Department wants to make an example of somebody. I suppose being African American doesn't have anything to do with it. A Congressman or just a improperly convicted African American, make an example of him before this so called blind justice.

    Sheila
    Maryland

    November 10, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  138. djh

    YES he should get 33 years behind bars but I can just hear them now.
    Oh but he got a harder sentence only because he’s black. I can just hear it now and I'm sick of hearing it.
    He'll get 33 years, if he does, because he is a slim ball that betrayed the trust of the people that elected him. But then there is some that will try to justify what he did.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  139. Barbara from Ohio

    I'd put them all in prison. And take away those cushy pensions. What a testament to our system of government! All of those folks in Congress make realtively good money and need a bunch to keep getting elected every 2 yrs. in the House. The only people in the Senate were born rich or bought there way there from graft as Representatives. The only voices heard in Washington is that of our elected officials asking 'WHAT IS IT WORTH TO YOU FOR MY VOTE' It's a sad fact that most Americans have become apathetic because they know they can't fight this system. Guys like Washing and Jefferson would be loading their guns and shooting all of them.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  140. Daniel Kaiser (Japan)

    People who steal from the public should be punished more severely than other crimes. Look at the healthcare debate. If we had a government that was honest and operated in the best interests of the citizens, there would be no question about single payer or a public option. But now we trust the corrupt insurance companies and are willing to pay 20% off the top for their terrible service. It's a sad statement that we trust corrupt companies more than the government which is actually us, the US citizens.
    Lobbying, Political action committees, influence peddling and campaign donations are killing the US and it's citizens from the 10's of thousands who die each year from no insurance to soldiers who were electrocuted in showers in Iraq.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  141. Festus Ekpen

    Do the crime, do the time! Or what lesson do you want us to draw here as we hopefully expect our government to put his Nigerian accomplice on trial! Away with bad rubbish. Abuja, Nigeria.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  142. John Minshall

    Jack,
    The way congress has been throwing around big numbers with the budget.......what would be the ratio to the equation......Jefferson =30 years/ Cheney=.......,.........,.........,.........,...years ??

    November 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  143. Ken in NC

    YES he should get every bit of it. We trusted this politician and he let us down. Now we should take care of him for the next 33 years.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  144. Sharry

    No, Jefferson should not get 33 years in prison. Criminals are killing people and get less time. He is a decent man that made a mistake but he is not a criminal. Why is it that blacks always get harsher punishments?

    November 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  145. Selles Morris

    As a police officer I can only tell you that police officers in my city that have been convicted of stealing money, drugs, etc have received sentences ranging from 18 to 44 years in jail. The 44 year sentence was the cop who did not take the plea deal. Any politician should be subject to the same. In a country where so many people are hurting, parasites like William Jefferson should pay for their predatory behavior with the maximum sentence.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  146. Joseph

    Supposedly, nobody is above the law. Still, at 62, he's a senior citizen. Give him a 10% senior discount. Yeah, 29.7 years sounds about right.

    Joe in Delray Beach, FL

    November 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  147. Nate

    I believe that those who were elected to hold the trust of the people should be made an example of when they forget why they hold the office they hold. Now, more than ever, politicians seem to think they are above the laws they create. Now is as good a time as ever to show them that mentality will not be tolerated nor will we continue to look the other way.

    San Lucas, CA

    November 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  148. Will

    I thought he was sipposed to be doing the people's work. Ask his constituents if they got any of that money. Their answer will tell you if he should go to jail for 33 years. Start with Capitol Hill, and finish with Wall Street.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  149. kent neargarder

    jack , i do think he needs to be punished but there are bigger fish to fry like dick chany whom thinks he can and did break any law he felt to and has got away with it witch has hurt everyone.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  150. ritamarie Allgauer

    Jack, jefferson should get the full sentence. And what does age have to do with this? did he think of the age or anything else about the citizens he lied to?
    Ritamarie A

    November 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  151. Randy from Salt Lake City

    They want to put him away for 33 years for 90 grand in fraud? Geez, Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld, Addington, and the rest of the gang murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans, tortured thousands, destroyed the Constitution and they're sitting pretty in their taxpayer funded mansions? This country deserves the comming collapse. Put a fork in Murika -it's done.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  152. Tracy

    Jack, I understand your point about criminal members of Congress getting long sentences to serve as a deterrent to others; however, justice needs to be meted out fairly. If Jefferson should get 33 years for his crimes, then Cunningham and Rostenkowski should be thrown back into jail!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  153. Brandon Winford

    NO Jack, 33 years may be a little excessive. However, Jefferson definitely deserves a meaningful sentence. His sentence should also set a sort of precendent for politicians mishandling the public's trust in this way. It makes no sense to give Jefferson 33 years when the next politician doing the same crime will get less time. Instead there needs to be something where we can say "You know what give the next guy the same number of years as Jefferson," without thinking twice about it. In the end though $90,000 seems like a drop in the bucket compared to politicians who stay in office year after year, getting paid to do absolutely nothing!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  154. Mike

    Jack,
    He should only recieve a year in jail, until next hurricane season. Then, the National Guard, who he "used" during hurricane Katrina to try and rescue his ill begotten gains, should lower him in a canoe into the eye of a hurricane.Hint...he won't need a paddle!!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  155. Jason Alexander

    Hell yes he should get 33 years. You can be shure that if it was you or me, we would be held to the highest extent of the law. Why should he get any special treatment. He is suppose to be a role model.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  156. lynnej

    If he was stupid enough to do it, not to mention get caught...his problem. He should have known better.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  157. John Minshall

    The way congress has been throwing around big numbers with the budget..........how big would the number be if one equates the following: Jefferson = 30 years....// Cheney= ......,...........,...........,........,
    .........,........, ??
    John - Phoenix

    November 10, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  158. mike tn

    yes put him jail.why should he be different in doing the time?because he is black? i don't think so!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  159. Bruce

    Too much, too little, too late.

    Too much time. What about the other putz who got 8 years? 33 is a bit much.

    Too Little is being done to stop such corruption of our public officials

    Too Late to start cracking down now. Too many govt officials have been bilking the system and they are still getting away with it today.

    We should have been cracking down day 1. We should have been outraged when the first incident of corruption took place.

    Making him the example by giving Jefferson 33 years does absolutely nothing when so many years of foul play by our government has taken place right under our noses in broad daylight.

    We all need to start making better choices as to who we pick to represent our city, our states, our country.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  160. george

    30 years in prison? nooooooo I have a better idea. John Muhammad the d.c. sniper is about to be put down in a few hours like the rabid dog he is and I just had a thought.
    He should be made to squeeze over on the gurney and make room for William Jefferon.
    I am sure the lab techs can finde his shallow viens as well that have nothing but cold blood running through them.
    george
    chester,ct

    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  161. Bob , Florida

    Yes with out any question. I believe our country is in grave danger and it's our elected officials who have taken us there. We entrust our elected officials with our lives and the lives of our children, they must be held accountable for their actions. For years we have overlooked the actions of our elected officials and we must stop, we as voters must demand our elected officials are held accountable for their actions.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  162. frankie

    Regular people who are convicted of crimes rarely get parity in sentencing, why should this guy?

    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  163. Karl from SF, CA

    Yes, if that is what the laws he broke prescribe as punishment. He should have thought about the consequences when he was stuffing that money in his freezer. Age isn’t a factor here other than being older he has probably, for a longer period of time, been stealing and living a better life then he ever earned. I’m a Democrat, but all law breakers in high places need to be punished. Now can we all say Dick Cheney?

    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  164. mark pribble Anna Illinois

    YES. They should start with him, and keep going on both sides of the isle in all branches of Government. We have one of the most corrupt Governments in the world. They are controlled by large corporations money, and only listen to voters when its election time, then at this time they fix small problems so they can keep their jobs and look good for a short time, then the Puppet Masters start pulling the money strings. Put them all in prison.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  165. Donna Goldman

    This guy needs to get a harsher sentence than an ordinary citizen in light of his betrayal to his constituents and his country. However, the same tough sentence must be equally and quickly meted out to any others who similarly breach the public's trust.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  166. Henya CA,

    In my opinion No the Punishment don't fit the crime,

    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  167. Ken in NC

    He should get the 33 years because of the type of cash he had in his freezer. This guy not only had cash in his freezer, he had "COLD HARD CASH" in it.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  168. Daniel Kaiser (Japan)

    Maybe he can share a cell with Tom DeLay!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  169. JALL

    I'm sure he will goto jail. I'd like to see all the BIG Corp. CEO, CFO, etc that stole money legally eventhough their companies needed bailout money go to jail also. They just had the books "cooked"! It's really a shame, they are running this country (US) in the ground. I don't think we are mentioned in the end-times in the BIBLE – I wonder why? Something to think about. The RICH gets richer, no matter what.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  170. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    All politicians are sleazebag crooks but to actually so flagrantly ignore the law and take advantage of his position to the point where he is prosecuted and given the longest sentence ever, he should earn him some kind of Congressional Lifetime Achievement Award. He has set the bar so high for all thse following him they are going to have to get really creative to top him. Good job Bill.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  171. karen hajek

    yes! yes! yes! he has betrayed the people who hired him & his country why should he be any diffrent than you or I who steals from our employer what would happen to us if we did the same we would rot in jail as he should the people have a right to be outraged for the people who are getting away with a slap on the hand

    November 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  172. festus ekpen

    He did the crime, he should do the time. My country Nigeria stands to draw judicial lessons from this case when eventually his partners in Nigeria are put on trial!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  173. Tara

    It is disgusting that African Americans have to fight for equality in everything Including prison time. There absolutely needs to be consistency in the law... While Cunningham embezzled more than 20 times the amount of Jefferson but he received a slap on the wrist. Prison time yes, 33 years is ridiculous.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  174. Brian

    No, Jefferson should recieve a sentance of one month in jail for each day he spent as a thief impersonating a congressman. I also hope that he is ineligiable to recieve any benefits for his congressional service because the taxpayer should only be responsible for the cost of his long incarceration.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  175. Chuck

    lets get this straight , you can give 49 million to 26 senators if your the insurance lobby. But if you give a congressman 90 thousand and your an undercover agent thats illegal.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  176. sadiq

    giver as well as receiver of bribe in any form should be made to face the music......the ball is now in the court of the Nigerian Government to prosecute those who are culpable in these shameful acts....

    November 10, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  177. Evan Paul

    If his acts cannot be equivocated with the objectives of terrorism, then what can?

    My impression is that rampant corporate America's political bribery is potentially more damaging than Al Kaida in the weakening and deterioration of American Democracy.

    Give him the LIFE sentence. He's easily earned it.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  178. Antonio Merrick

    Congressman William Jefferson should get an even five years for each one of the 11 counts, which would total 55 years with a 50 year minimum for good behavior. A Statesman who would betray their own country's trust for his or her own personal gain is even below the statue of Bernard Madoff, and maybe worse!!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  179. Pete

    Keep counting !

    November 10, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  180. Billy

    Well Jack, It's a shame that public servants betray the people they represent by taking bribes, bribing others, and having blatant disregard for the law they vow to uphold. There is no excuse for what Jefferson did, 33 years seem like justice, but I do wonder why a black representive should receive the harshest sentence, when in fact his white conterparts receive 8 years or less. I think the system should just be fair. Question? If he get 33 years, would that really deter others or let black lawmakers know that if they commit the same crime as their white conterparts they will receive triple the time? Sounds like American justice. Just look at the prison system.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  181. Cheryl

    Yeah, he's a slime ball, but what about those REAL slime balls , like Billy Tozan(sic) who helped give the big pharma companies $18 billion dollars of our Tax money when they started the Medicare part D in the Bush Administration?? And what about Tom Delay letting lobbyists on the floor when the House was voting on the Medicare Bill, so they could buy OUR Congressmen and women...and holding the vote over 3 hours , so to give lobbyists more time! Nothing was EVER DONE ABOUT THAT!...BUT THAT'S OKAY ?....HELL THAT'S A LOT WORSE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then Billy retires soon afterward and leaves to to become the head rep for Pharma at $! million
    dollars a year! Republicans are the biggest slime balls, no contest!!! They don't do small deals like Jefferson, they do big deals like no bid contracts and giving OUT HUGE TAX DOLLARS IN THE BILLIONS TO THE LIKES OF PHARMA AND HALIBURTON! Get with it Jack, Jefferson is small time compared to the crime family called the GOP!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  182. Robin

    Jack, we are equal under the law and according to the constitution. So please explain it to me like I'm a 3 year old, 8 years for 2 million in bribes. 33 years for 90,000 in bribes. Please tell me why you think this is okay and tell me what happened to TED STEVENS?

    November 10, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  183. Maria Luisa Quigley

    Jack hes an old man. I think he has learned his lesson after being embarassed before the nation and his peers. What is it teaching anyone to assign an old man a 30+ year sentence? Let him go, fine him. Do what you have to do, but there is point in imprisoning the old goat.
    Maria Quigley: Woodbine, MD

    November 10, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  184. karen hajek

    forgot my town & state Washougal Washington

    November 10, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  185. Harold

    I say "NO" he should not be sentenced to what I think is such a severe penalty. It's like they are throwing the book at him. He has never been arrested in his life. He has been a productive citizen. Why isn't this good man being given a shot at a second chance. At 62 years old that is a death penalty. I believe he should do less than 10 years period.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  186. Robert Starr

    Sure enough! Another great example of how the proverbial little fish is taken out of the fish pond... and served with hors d'oeuvre. The big fish gets away. What about the war criminal and idiot, Abdulah W. Abdulah? Why don't we levy charges against him, a man who lied to Congress and the people in general, a man who invaded a country and massacred over 100,000 men, women, and children, a man who violated the public trust to unimaginable extremes? Through our government we've become the real terrorists of the world!

    We overlook these unimaginable crimes because of our narrow nationalism, our so called patriotism.

    Let's be fair and implement real justice... for all!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  187. Judie W. El Lago

    No one will ever know where the rest of the money is....surely he has more than one stash.....

    He may well deserve the lenghty term, however he is a member of the 'good old boys club", and that will explain any less than a long sentence.......

    Why is he even out on bond ? No matter how much oil is used the wheels of justice move slowly, and at times not at all.

    ps.'sic em Jack.

    judie/el lago

    November 10, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  188. Henry

    Dear Jack,

    Get a clue, deterrence doesn't work ... our prisons are bulging and an embarrassing number of our people are incarcerated. Let's not be fooled, the Dept of Corrections does little in the way of 'corrections' (i.e. rehabilitation) and the message is simply "don't get caught".

    We are a nation of hypocrites; over-rewarding celebrity superstars and over-punishing the defenseless poor who cannot afford to play the legal game. What's the point of giving Congressman Jefferson a "life sentence"? Fine him and let him spend the rest of his life doing community service ... putting him in prison is expensive and does not remedy anything.

    Let's not confuse justice with vengence or, respect with fear.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  189. G.J. Hall

    Jack –
    I have no qualms that Congressman Jefferson should serve jail time...but least we not forget those others – you know the ones on Wall Street, Bailout recepients, and the Bernie Madoffs that have stolen from "the people". While Jefferson has abused his public office, all have abused a public trust. Perhaps we should spend more time, effort, and cash time getting to the bottom of the more lucrative theives – who are holding us in recession (DEPRESSION), instead of deciding how much time an old congressman should spend in the slammer. Maybe then we can get back to some real American values.
    G
    Michigan

    November 10, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  190. warren sanford

    Jefferson is why I am now a registered independent...there is never an excuse to take bribes-I dont care what party you belong to-If I am gonna jail Duke Cunningham-then Jefferson is a crook too-and it must be punished. The Dems should be happy to aggressively prosecute this guy-bribery is what is supposed to seperate these two parties. I would wrap him in foil and freeze him solid if they would let me!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  191. pat

    Seems alittle harsh but you are supposed to know what something costs before you buy it and he surely spent and made alot of money dealing with the government business. You have to a conscience to work in the government and most of our reps are lacking in respect for their job.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  192. John/Jack hopkins

    A capital YES Jack; and sent him to a woman's prison to spend his money or see what he is missing. Also send John Beahmer and L. Graham with him the clever puppets of the Health Industry, AMA, AIG and Medicine lobby.

    Hoppy
    Chino Hills, CA

    November 10, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  193. Maria

    Of course not. Our justice system is so whacked we should be ashamed of ourselves
    Maria

    Brunswick,MD

    November 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  194. Al Armendariz

    Yes, Now if he can somehow make 2,700+ A year, he can have
    his 99,000 legally when he gets out.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  195. Sam

    Absolutely, this congressman has completely insulted his constituency and the American people. We are sick and tired of these politicians robbing ,stealing, cheating, and literally rapping, the American people. They have great paying jobs with wonderful benefits and privledges that most americans can only DREAM of, let him GO TO JAIL!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  196. SCOTT ROSE --- PANAMA CITY, FL

    Jack, 33 years is to short a time. like all democrates everywhere he is a slime ball, and completly corrupt. something on the order of dipped in battery acid and rolled in rock salt is more appropriate.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  197. Robert Starr

    What about the blatant BRIBING that goes on in Congress, the so called lobbying, probably the greatest euphemism of all time? These untold millions do not have to reside at the bottom of the freezer. This unbelievable chicanery is LEGAL!

    The people in general are not represented, if the competition is against the powerful and corrupt influence of the corporations, the entities who really control the world and are bringing it to its end. All for a fist full of dollars.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  198. Business student from Louisiana

    I think he should be punished but 33 years is kind of harsh considering the majority of politician are up to there elbows in shady businesses. It's fine to give him 33 years if everyone else gets the same sentence. It seems to me that people wait until a minority get caught to make an example. Did anyone watch Fahrenheit 9-11? Why are the Bushes able to conspire with terrorist, screw up the economy, then walk free while another president catches the rap because he can't undo 8 years of damage in one year? America wanted to impeach Clinton because he lied under oath about a question that only his wife had the right to ask, yet everyone is praising David Letterman for cheating on his wife. America shows favoritism.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  199. Scott Richards

    Not only no, but heck no. It doesn't stand the common sense test. 33 years for basically stealing cookies. How many years does the average child molester receive? Try 12-15 years in a federal day care center (Child predators are rarely if ever mixed with general population) with "good behavior" opening up his doors at 6-8 years. Where oh where is our sense of reason?

    November 10, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  200. Jim Green, TX, www.Inclusivism.org

    Jack, I have a suggestion.....We should require every sentencing judge in America who wants to throw the book a non-violent offenders...to tell the public how much of theri tax money this is going to cost......IF THEY KNEW MAYBE WE WOULD NOT HAVE 5 TIMES MORE PEOPLE IN PRISON THAN EVERY OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  201. Linda Williams San Francisco

    jack I think 33 years is too long. He took $90,000.00, but that's peanuts compared to what others have taken and got less time. What about the crooks that was working for Enron and all of the other companies that the CEO's have taken the money and ran?

    November 10, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  202. Liz in California

    the contrite look oh his face made me sick. why only 33 years?

    November 10, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  203. Safiyah

    Yes, he should receive a stiff sentence but 33 years? There are people who have done great harm to children and their sentences are rarely one of the numbers in the number of years they have recommended for this crook.
    Unforunately, corruption in government is not going to stop by the imposing of long prison terms on the few offenders that are caught red handed. The only way it is going to stop is if we stop electing crooks. Fat chance of that!

    November 10, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  204. lisa

    Hi, Jack Yes congressman Jefferson should go to jail. Maybe he should get a cell ready for Charlie Rangel..Thanks, Lisa

    November 10, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  205. ronald young

    Its obvious that our need for Political Correctness will save this criminal, but I believe he should be punished to the full extent of the law. If we refuse to hold our Public Servants to higher standard then we are inviting this type of behavior>

    November 10, 2009 at 7:52 pm |