Friday, May 26, 2006

Former Jefferson Aide Sentenced to Eight Years for Bribery

As Matthew Barakat reports for the Associated Press, Brett Pfeffer, a former aide to embattled Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, was sentenced to eight years in prison today for his role in a bribery scheme involving telecommunications contracts in Africa.

The fairly stiff sentence paints a dark picture for Mr. Jefferson, who stands accused of demanding bribes in return for using his office to help out a tech venture in Africa.

Pfeffer and Vernon Jackson, the CEO of a tech company called iGate, have pleaded guilty this year to bribing Jefferson. Both Pfeffer and Jackson allege that Jefferson demanded an ownership stake in a tech venture in Africa in return for helping the venture get a loan from the Import-Export Bank and nail down contracts in Africa.

An FBI affidavit in support of a warrant for a search conducted of Jefferson's congressional office over last weekend states that the FBI has Jefferson on tape receiving a suitcase filled with $100,000 in $100 bills from the owner of the investment company Pfeffer worked for. $90,000 of the money was later found in a freezer in Jefferson's Louisiana home.

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