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updated: 8/13/2013 6:15 PM

Jackson Jr.'s hope for leniency rests with judge

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Associated Press

If Jesse Jackson Jr.'s federal sentencing judge accepts that his performance as a congressman outweighs his crime, she could give him probation for misusing $750,000 in campaign money.

The 48-year-old Illinois Democrat goes before the judge Wednesday in Washington. Prosecutors want a four-year prison term for Jackson.

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Among the arguments defense attorneys make for leniency is that Jackson steered $1 billion in federal funds to his district.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson is no relation to the defendant. But the judge's own past suggests she might give consideration to the lawyers' arguments.

She was the attorney for former Congressman William Jefferson, a New Orleans Democrat convicted of bribery in 2009.

She asked for leniency for Jefferson by citing his public service. But in the end, Jefferson received a 13-year prison term.

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