Judge Rejects Jefferson’s Request for New Trial

Posted September 22, 2009 at 10:05am

A federal judge rejected ex-Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-La.) request for a new trial, dismissing the former lawmaker’s assertion that the sexual affair between a key witness and an FBI agent should have been disclosed to jurors during his trial. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis ruled Friday that information about the affair, which federal prosecutors disclosed in a confidential filing one day before jury selection began in June, was not relevant “to any matters at issue at trial.—According to Ellis’ ruling, Virginia businesswoman Lori Mody, who recorded conversations with Jefferson and served as an FBI informant, engaged in a sexual relationship with FBI agent John Guandolo, who worked undercover, posing as Mody’s driver during the Jefferson investigation.Ellis noted that Mody did not testify during the trial — however, the government and the defense did play numerous snippets of Mody and Jefferson’s meetings — and the information would not have been admissible “to challenge Mody’s credibility.—A federal jury ruled Jefferson guilty in August of 11 criminal charges including conspiracy to solicit bribes, money laundering, wire fraud and a pattern of racketeering activity.The same jury determined Jefferson may have to forfeit up to $471,000, plus additional stock holdings, the income that he received as a result of those criminal activities.Jefferson filed for bankruptcy in late August. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 30.