Forget gun shows and governor debates! The most exciting thing happening in Virginia has actually been going on for over a month -- did you know this? It is the federal bribery and corruption case of infamous Democratic ex-Congressman William Jefferson, which has kept Alexandria on its rich toes since mid-June. And on Tuesday, the prosecution and defense will deliver their closing arguments.
Who's going to win: the guy who was found with $90,000 cash stuffed in his freezer's emptied food boxes, or America?
Make your bets, everyone, on the Internet.
Last week the jury was played hours of recorded conversations between Jefferson -- who lost his New Orleans-area House seat in the 2008 elections, following a 2005 FBI sting and 2007 indictment on 17 counts -- and Lori Mody, a Virginia businesswoman-turned-FBI-informant, who had allegedly been working with Jefferson to facilitate a deal for her telecom company with then-Nigerian vice president, Atiku Abubakar. The $90,000 found in Jefferson's freezer was part of $100,000 Mody had given to Jefferson, who was *allegedly* supposed to deliver the cash to Abubakar.
But are the tapes really... incriminating? Or do they just show Jefferson trying to be a good pal and not really agreeing to anything. The New Orleans Times-Picayune lays out the quandary facing jurors over the next few days, with regard to the taped conversation:
Do they show, as prosecutors allege, a congressman extracting bribes for his family in exchange for his help in brokering deals for American businesses in Africa?
Or do they, as the defense team suggested, merely present the private business dealings of a man who happened to be in Congress and is being urged on by a woman with a hidden agenda?