Former Louisiana Democratic Representative William Jefferson, who was convicted in August on federal corruption charges including conspiracy to solicit bribery, has been sentenced by a state court in Virginia to 13 years in prison, the longest sentence ever handed down to a former federal elected official.
Jefferson became known as, "Mr. Freeze" after federal agents raided his home and found more than $90,000 hidden in his freezer. Jefferson claimed the FBI had given him the money for use in a sting operation in which he was participating, but the FBI has repeatedly denied working with the Democratic former legislator.
"Dollar" Bill Jefferson, as he became known to many both in and outside of his district, vows that he will appeal the conviction, which found him guilty on 11 of 16 counts. His attorneys claim that his actions don't fit the statutory definition of bribery.
Despite winning under the cloud of investigation in 2006, Jefferson defeated by less than 2,000 votes by his Republican opponent in 2008. The loss was a testament to Jefferson's unopoularity at the time, considering the heavily Democrat-favored climate of his district (D+28 according to the Cook Partisan Voter Index, the third-highest Democrat total in the South). He was the most senior Democrat to lose in 2008.
The man who won his former seat, Congressman Ahn "Joseph" Cao, made news last week when he became the sole Republican vote in favor of H.R. 3200, the House health care reform bill that passed by just five votes.