Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeIf Democrats want to take back the White House start now A guide to the committees: House Dems claim unity, but are still in search of a message MORE (D-Ohio) asked a federal judge to consider former Rep. Jessie Jackson Jr.'s (D-Ill.) karaoke skills — as well as his work on behalf of the poor — in considering leniency for the Chicago politician.
Fudge, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, sent the letter to U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Wilkins, who is weighing a sentence for Jackson after he pleaded guilty to spending some $750,000 worth of campaign funds on televisions, appliances, movie tickets and jewelry.
"When things got tough or extremely difficult on the House floor, we could count on Jesse to bring levity to an otherwise daunting situation with a bad joke or a one man skit," Fudge's letter says. "Jesse was the highlight of our karaoke nights and always made everyone feel like an integral part of, and not apart from, various activities. He made us realize that we could still have fun, while addressing important national issues."
"Jesse is worth saving, and I know he can continue to have a positive impact on the lives of others as he has with my colleagues and me," Fudge wrote.
Jackson, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, resigned his seat in November, citing health issues.
“For 17 years I have given 100 percent of my time, energy and life to public service,” Jackson wrote in a letter to Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerTrump, GOP fumble chance to govern ObamaCare gets new lease on life Ryan picks party over country by pushing healthcare bill MORE. “However, over the past several months, as my health has deteriorated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued to diminish. Against the recommendations of my doctors, I had hoped and tried to return to Washington and continue working on the issues that matter most to the people of the Second District. I know now that will not be possible.”
In February, he pleaded guilty in federal court to using campaign money for personal expenses and waived his right to a trial.
“Tell everyone back home I’m sorry I let them down, OK?” Jackson told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Jackson's attorney told the Washington Post at the time that he would seek leniency at the sentencing because Jackson’s “serious health issues” are “directly related to his present predicament.” Jackson is expected to be sentenced in July.
— This story was updated at 4:10 p.m.