Fmr. Rep. Jefferson could face at least 27 years in prison on bribery, other charges

Prosecutors want a sentence of at least 27 years for a Democrat convicted of accepting more than $400,000 in bribes while in office.

A federal court found 18-year Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) guilty this past August on 11 counts of bribery, racketeering and money-laundering. Federal guidelines specify he could face more than 20 years of prison time for his misdeeds, but prosecutors on Monday made clear they will make the case for at least 27 years — and a maximum of 33 years — when sentencing begins this Friday.

The defense has yet to file its sentencing arguments, according to The Associated Press.

Jefferson's corruption battle first made headlines back in 2005, when the FBI began investigating his financial activities for suspected corruption.

But it was not until August of that year that investigators searching Jefferson's home for evidence discovered about $90,000 hidden in his freezer — bribe money, they later learned, that ultimately came to define Jefferson's trial, to say nothing of his coverage in the press.

Consequently, House Democrats forced Jefferson off the Ways and Means Committee in 2006, but the congressman won reelection to the House that year, despite a tough runoff race. He remained there, refusing to resign and maintaining his innocence, until he lost reelection in 2008 to Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.).