Congressman Still in Hot Water

Appeals court clears way for Jefferson trial

A federal appeals court upheld bribery and other charges against Louisiana Democratic U.S. Rep. William Jefferson Wednesday, clearing the way for a trial.

Jefferson had been fighting the case in court for the last 16 months.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Jefferson's claims that a federal grand jury received evidence that violated his constitutional right to legislative immunity.

The 2007 indictment alleges that Jefferson received more than $500,000 in bribes and demanded millions more between 2000 and 2005, including $90,000 he received from an FBI informant that was later found in the freezer of his Washington home.

Jefferson could further delay a trial by appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 235 years in prison.

Jefferson has pleaded not guilty.

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