Ex-Rep. Jefferson sentenced to 13 years

Former Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) was sentenced Friday to 13 years in prison for accepting $400,000 in bribes, according to the Associated Press.

The sentence is far less than asked for by prosecutors. They sought 27 years for the nine-term congressman.

Jefferson’s case is best known for the $90,000 in cash that agents found in the ex-congressman’s freezer.

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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.).

Cao is known seen as the most vulnerable Republican in next year’s election.

Jefferson was found guilty for accepting bribes related to schemes that were intended to win business for U.S. companies in African countries. In exchange for help, the jury found Jefferson had won payments or financial considerations for companies that were controlled by Jefferson’s family.

Defense attorneys had asked for 10 years and want Jefferson to be able to be free while he appeals the case.