Wife Says Jackson Confessed to Affair and Isn’t Running for Mayor

Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:30pm

Sandi Jackson, the wife of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), said she knew nearly two years ago that her husband had an affair, and she seemed to walk back his interest in entering Chicago’s mayoral race, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday.

Both Jacksons have indicated they are considering running to succeed Mayor Richard Daley (D). Sandi Jackson, who is an alderman in Chicago, told the local NBC affiliate early this month that they would “sit down and decide if either of us will run.”

But the Sun-Times reported Sunday that she said her husband “never had an intention to run for mayor” and was gearing up for re-election to his House seat. She did not talk about her own plans.

The newspaper reported Tuesday that Illinois businessman Raghuveer Nayak told federal investigators that Rep. Jackson had instructed him to offer then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) campaign cash in exchange for a Senate appointment. Jackson denied wrongdoing in a statement, saying he has already addressed the fundraising allegations with investigators. The House ethics committee has deferred its investigation, citing an ongoing Justice Department investigation, and the Justice Department has not charged Jackson.

The article sparked talk of an affair, saying Nayak also alleged that he bought plane tickets for a woman at Jackson’s request. Jackson said in the statement that the matter is “private and personal” between him and his wife and that it “was handled some time ago.”

But Sandi Jackson brought it up during a fundraiser marking her 47th birthday last week in Chicago. “I told them: ‘I put my foot knee-deep in his ass, and he has been having a very difficult time sleeping peacefully since then,'” she told the Sun-Times in describing her speech, which her husband attended.

“Jesse laughed because he knew it was true,” she said. “But I also wanted everyone to know I was not taking it lightly.”

She said her husband confessed nearly two years ago to having an affair with the woman, Giovana Huidobro of Washington, and that he told her it was over.

“We had the luxury of privacy to undergo intense marital counseling and spiritual therapy to save our marriage,” she said. “I thought we had turned the corner. Then this sucker punch in the press — and having to live it all over again publicly.”