Judge Orders Release of Congressman Sentenced for Bribery

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered that a former Louisiana congressman sentenced to 13 years in prison for taking bribes be released from jail pending a new sentencing hearing.

Democrat William Jefferson has been serving his sentence in 2012. He was convicted of accepting more than $400,000 in bribes in exchange for brokering business deals in Africa.

Agents searched his Washington home in 2005 and found $90,000 cash in his freezer.

In a ruling made public Thursday, Judge T.S. Ellis III said a new sentencing hearing is necessary because the Supreme Court has subsequently changed what constitutes “an official act” for which a public official can be convicted of bribery. The Supreme Court decision came as it overturned the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

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