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Jesse Jackson Jr. plea deal, resignation possible

| Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, 8:20 p.m.

CHICAGO — Amid reports that he may have misused campaign funds, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has hired a lawyer to handle negotiations on a possible plea deal in which he would resign from the House of Representatives and spend time in prison, reports said.

CBS 2 television reported on Saturday and Fox News Chicago on Monday, citing an unnamed source, that Jackson hired Dan Webb, a former U.S. Attorney in Chicago who represents defendants in high-profile corruption cases to represent the 47-year-old lawmaker.

Both reports said Jackson, who was easily re-elected to Congress on Nov. 6, may have to resign and serve time in prison under terms of the deal being negotiated.

Webb and a spokesman for Jackson did not respond to requests for comment.

Last week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Jackson was under investigation for allegedly misusing campaign funds to decorate his home and to buy a $40,000 Rolex watch for a female friend.

Jackson, the son of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, was treated for at least six weeks this summer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for bipolar disorder, a psychological condition marked by extreme mood swings. He has been on medical leave from the House since June and has not been seen in public.

Jackson also has been the subject of a House ethics committee probe over an alleged bribe offered by a Jackson supporter in 2008 to then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The bribe was said to be intended to entice Blagojevich, who was later convicted of corruption and imprisoned, to appoint Jackson to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

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