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Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. gains two high-profile supporters

June 21, 2013|By Katherine Skiba, Tribune reporter

WASHINGTON — Broadcaster Tavis Smiley and attorney Vernon Jordan are the latest high-profile people to show support for former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who will be sentenced July 3 for looting his campaign treasury of about $750,000.

Letters from the two were filed Friday in federal court.

Smiley, who hosts “Tavis Smiley,” which airs on PBS, said when he spoke recently to Jackson, “the first words out of his mouth were an acknowledgment and apology for letting me and so many others down.”

He told the sentencing judge that he’d known Jackson most of his life. “While Mr. Jackson’s actions cannot be condoned, they are inconsistent with the character of the public servant that I have worked alongside for the betterment of our democracy through the uplifting of fellow citizens,” Smiley said.

Jordan, who practices in Washington, has held high-profile positions including chairing Bill Clinton’s presidential transition team in 1992 and leading the National Urban League.

Jordan asked the judge to weigh Jackson’s “good works against his bad acts.”

“Mr. Jackson’s conduct was inexcusable, but his efforts of behalf of those less fortunate than himself should not be forgotten,” Jordan added.

Jackson, 48, a South Side Chicago Democrat, will be sentenced the same day as his wife, Sandi Jackson, 49, a former Chicago alderman, who failed to report about $600,000 on their income taxes from 2006 to 2011.

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kskiba@tribune.com

Twitter: @KatherineSkiba

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