Skip to comments.William Jefferson [Democrat, Louisiana] aides testify on contacts
Posted on 10/21/2007 6:36:41 AM PDT by Libloather
Jefferson aides testify on contacts
Discussion off limits, defense tells judge
Saturday, October 20, 2007
By Bruce Alpert
WASHINGTON -- Rep. William Jefferson's former chief of staff told a Virginia grand jury that the New Orleans Democrat personally knew 30 leaders in African nations because of his work passing an Africa trade bill in 1997.
Transcripts of some of the grand jury testimony by current and former Jefferson staffers, as well as a secretly taped conversation with another former aide for the congressman, are contained in back-and-forth legal filings by Jefferson's defense team and federal prosecutors in the Justice Department's case accusing the congressman of using his office to solicit bribes in exchange for help in advancing business deals in Africa.
Defense attorneys say the testimony shows that the grand jury heard direct discussion about legislative matters that are off limits to prosecutors under the Constitution's speech or debate clause, designed to protect the independence of Congress, and are asking federal Judge T.S. Ellis III to drop all bribery-related charges and give him access to all grand jury testimony.
The Justice Department contends that the testimony by former Chief of Staff Lionel Collins, and two other Jefferson aides, district manager Stephanie Butler and trade adviser Melvin Spence, dealt only generally with legislative issues and had no bearing on the government's 16-count indictment.
One of the partial transcripts made available in the filings is testimony to the grand jury in May 2006 in which Collins said that Jefferson was instrumental in passing the 1997 African Trade Act, which after one year had increased trade to African nations by perhaps $10 billion.
During deliberations over the trade act, Collins said, Jefferson traveled to Africa to discuss the legislation with government leaders.
(Excerpt) Read more at nola.com ...
And it should go on to say, "But because Jefferson is a dimocrat, we will consider him an un-indicted co-conspiritor."
Well, just dang!! You mean that William Jefferson is a Democrat from Louisiana? Seems like Rush should'a told us that.
....designed to protect the independence of Congress?????? Does that mean members of congress are above the law? Since their salaries are paid by the taxpayers, aren't they beholden to the people who elected them? William Jefferson and John Conyers are all about black America, nothing in between. Mr. Conyers is in many ways worse than Mr. Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana.