Kentucky technology company executive Vernon Jackson pled guilty Wednesday to paying $400,000 in bribes to Congressman Bill Jefferson (D-LA). In exchange, Jefferson promised to held the company win federal governmental certification and contracts. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed Jackson would be sentenced to only 7-9 years in federal prison instead of the 20 years recommended by sentencing guidelines. Jefferson has denied he accepted bribes or acted improperly. "I take full responsibility for what I have done," said Jackson. Former Jefferson legislative director Brett Pfeffer pled guilty earlier this year to aiding and abetting bribery of a public official. The only question now is which Congressman gets indicted first on bribery and corruption charges: Jefferson for this scandal or Bob Ney (R-OH) for the Abramoff scandal?
That gets into a larger question about the political future for African Americans in New Orleans. Mayor Nagin is already in a nasty run-off with Mitch Landrieu that could very well determine the racial demographics of that city for some time to come. And with Jefferson out (despite his belligerance), New Orleans will definitely get a cultural face lift in 2006.