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Rumors Swirl About Jesse L. Jackson Jr. Announcement

For a few minutes Tuesday night, it looked as if Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. might make his first substantive comments since reports of a federal investigation of the Illinois Democrat over misuse of campaign funds.

A report by the Fox affiliate in Chicago said Jackson planned to “break his silence” on a conference call with staff Wednesday morning. According to the TV station, sources said there would also be an email from the Jackson camp about future plans.

Jackson’s office quickly sought to dismiss the report, but the CBS station in the Windy City confirmed the call had been scheduled only to be quickly scrapped.

Shortly after winning re-election to his Chicago-area House seat, reports appeared that lawyers working for Jackson were negotiating a plea deal with federal prosecutors that could involve a requirement that he resign from Congress. CBS Chicago reported earlier this month that Jackson’s legal team includes Dan Webb, who helped negotiate a plea bargain for the late Democratic Rep. Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois.

Jackson has been away from his official duties as a House member since June due to treatment for what has been described as bipolar disorder. Speculation has already begun about possible replacements for Jackson in the event of his resignation from the safe Democratic seat. Under Illinois law, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn would have five days to set a date for a special election following the effective date of a resignation.

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