Former Congressman Bill Jefferson would stay out of prison with new deal

ALEXANDRIA, VA - NOVEMBER 13: Former Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) leaves the US District Court with his wife Andrea Jefferson after being sentenced to 13 years in prison on November 13, 2009 in Alexandria, Virginia. Jefferson was found guilty of 11 charges including solicitation of bribes, honest services wire fraud, money laundering, racketeering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

VIRGINIA — Former U.S. Rep. William “Bill” Jefferson, the New Orleans congressman who was released from federal prison in October in his fifth year of a 13-year prison sentence, could be home for good.

The former congressman whose claim to fame came when federal agents found $90,000 in cash in a freezer at his house was released early from federal prison after a judge tossed out seven of his 10 convictions for corruption — specifically, illegal payments he received from businesses in Africa.

He was set to be resentenced tomorrow (Friday, December 1), but court documents show that Jefferson’s attorneys have struck a deal with prosecutors that would allow Jefferson to remain a free man.

If the judge approves the deal, Jefferson would be sentenced to the amount of prison time he already has served and be credited for that time.

When he was sentenced in 2009, Jefferson was also ordered to pay $470,653 in fines. So far, the government has collected $189,215. If the judge approves the deal, Jefferson would be off the hook for the remainder of the money he owes to the government.

The nine-term congressman reported to prison in 2012. His 13-year sentence was the longest corruption sentence ever given to a member of Congress.