In 2012, the eight-term U.S. representative was sen-tenced to 13 years in federal prison, the longest prison term ever given to a former member of Congress.Jefferson was born in northeastern Louisiana and graduated with a law degree from Harvard University.
When he was first elected in 1990, he was Louisiana’s first black congressman since the end of Reconstruction.The FBI began investigating Jefferson on corrup-tion allegations in about 2005. FBI agents raided Jef-ferson’s Congressional office and his homes in 2005 and 2006. Famously, FBI agents found $90,000 in cash wrapped in aluminum foil inside the freezer of Jefferson’s Washington, D.C. home. Prosecutors said Jefferson and his wife received $450,000 in payments from a Kentucky telecommunications firm in return for advocating for the company in Nigeria. A grand jury indicted Jefferson on 16 felony counts related to corruption in 2007.
In 2009, he was found guilty of 11 of the counts, but appealed the case and wasn’t sent to prison for 13 years until 2012. In October, a federal judge, based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, vacated 7 of the 10 charges against Jefferson and ordered him set free. His brother, Mose, sister Betty and New Orleans Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt were also involved in a corruption scheme and were indicted.During the investigation, he won re-election in 2006, but lost his election in his overwhelmingly Democratic district to Republican Joseph Cao in 2008