Monday, May 22, 2006

DRUDGE REPORT :: FBI Raid Angers Some on Hill

DRUDGE REPORT FLASH 2006:

"FBI Raid Angers Some on Hill
Mon May 22 2006 10:00:41 ET

Saturday night’s FBI raid on the office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) surprised and angered House officials, who were not told that the Rayburn House Office Building search was to take place until one hour beforehand, offering the latest sign that federal prosecutors are using increasingly aggressive tactics in their pursuit of allegedly corrupt lawmakers.

This is believed to be the first-ever FBI raid on a Congressional office, ROLL CALL reports.

Documents filed in support of the search show that the Justice Department is assembling a wide-ranging case against the veteran Democratic lawmaker.

At this time, Jefferson is being investigated for bribery, wire fraud, bribery of a foreign official and conspiracy to bribe foreign officials, according to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent in support of the search warrant.

But the Justice Department and FBI agents are also looking at “least seven other schemes in which Congressman Jefferson sought things of value” in return for official acts, the affidavit states.

That suggests that additional avenues for prosecuting Jefferson could be revealed soon. The FBI has two confidential witnesses who are offering testimony against Jefferson, as well as undercover audio and video tapes of him allegedly asking for and receiving bribes worth potentially millions of dollars in exchange for his help in putting together African telecommunications deals for U.S. firms, according to the affidavit.

On one videotape, the FBI filmed Jefferson allegedly receiving $100,000 in cash from one of their cooperating witnesses. Most of the money was later recovered in a raid of Jefferson's home, reports ROLL CALL's John Bresnahan."

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