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Jesse Jackson Jr. Should Get Four Years, Sandi 18 Months, Prosecutors Say

By  Alex Parker  and Kyla Gardner | June 7, 2013 2:11pm | Updated on June 7, 2013 5:49pm

 Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges.
Prosecutor recommends sentencing for Jesse Jackson Jr., wife
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CHICAGO — Prosecutors are recommending former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. get four years in prison and his wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, get 18 months when they're sentenced next month on federal corruption charges.

Documents filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., show prosecutors also want Jackson Jr. to pay $750,000 in restitution for raiding his campaign funds for personal use and to forfeit an additional $750,000. Prosecutors want Sandi Jackson to pay restitution of $168,550.

The Jacksons, who have two children, would serve staggered terms so they are not imprisoned at the same time, prosecutors recommended. Sandi Jackson would serve her sentence first.

See the sentencing recommendation for Jesse Jackson Jr.

See the sentencing recommendation for Sandi Jackson

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 3 in Washington.

Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds for personal use, including a fur cape, a $43,000 gold Rolex watch and Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson memorabilia.

Sandi Jackson pleaded guilty to tax fraud for failing to report $600,000 on her tax returns.

According to documents released Friday afternoon by prosecutors, Sandi Jackson underreported her income and that of her husband from 2006 through 2011.

By filing joint income tax returns, husband and wife were both complicit in the crime, according to the feds.

"For him to get well is the first priority. I have no comment about the judicial process. We'll wait for the outcome," said Jackson Jr.'s father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. Friday, as he attended an event honoring Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Jackson Jr.'s defense team filed a number of letters from family members and friends pleading for lenience. Congressional colleagues including Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) wrote on his behalf, citing his character and accomplishments. Many cited Jackson Jr.'s need for mental health treatment.

Jackson Sr. cited his son's efforts to build a water tower for constituents, saving hospitals and working to end the civil war in Liberia.

"I am not sure at what point Jesse Jr. began to foil his own ambitions, whether the depression set in, whether the duodenal bariatric surgery...or whether the bi-polar disorder fit into the trajectory" Jackson Sr. wrote, pleading for probation.

Jackson Jr.'s mother, Jacqueline, asked Judge Amy Berman-Jackson to "consider a new approach for  handling non-violent offenders," as a way to mold "a more enlightened system of justice."

"Please consider community service and continue mental health treatments for Junior instead of prison," wrote Jan Camps Coleman, who described the former congressman as a "lifelong" friend.

In his plea agreement, Jackson Jr. acknowledged misspending the campaign money to buy a host of items with the cash, including:

• $5,150 worth of fur capes and parkas, including a mink reversible parka and a black and red cashmere cape from Edwards-Lowell Furs in Beverly Hills, Calif.;

• About $10,000 worth of Bruce Lee memorabilia;

• About $11,000 worth of Martin Luther King Jr. memorabilia;

• About $28,000 worth of Michael Jackson memorabilia, including a fedora and a "Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen guitar" and;

•A $5,000 football signed by U.S. presidents.

Sandi Jackson resigned as alderman of the South Side's 7th Ward in January.

Jackson Jr. easily won re-election in November, despite never campaigning and disappearing from Washington, citing a gastrointestinal problem. He later revealed treatment for bipolar depression. He stepped down from his seat shortly after his re-election. Robin Kelly won his 2nd Congressional District seat in a special election in April.