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.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/10/art.wm.jefferson.jpg caption="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.