A high-rolling Cicero minister who once called down the wrath of God on a federal judge got a lesson in mercy and a five-year prison sentence Wednesday, his lawyer said.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman gave Herman Jackson a severe scolding for bilking hundreds of thousands of dollars from a federal program that subsidized child care for needy parents. Then she handed the self-proclaimed “bishop” a prison term 10 months shorter than the low end of federal sentencing guidelines, lawyer Matt McQuaid said. Jackson had faced more than seven years behind bars.
Jackson “was always a bit outrageous, because of some of his grandiose ideas . . . but Judge Coleman did a good job of seeing the defendant in front of her and giving him an appropriate sentence,” said McQuaid, a court-appointed attorney whom Jackson fired midway through his 2015 trial, though McQuaid continued to act as Jackson’s courtroom adviser and represented him throughout sentencing.
After Coleman repeatedly denied Jackson’s requests to be allowed to move to Georgia and live with his wife and children ahead of his trial, Jackson told reporters the “wrath of God almighty shall soon visit her home.”
Jackson made a rambling apology to the judge — and referred to the African-American jurist as a “Nubian queen.” Coleman eventually let him rejoin his family in Georgia before the trial.
Before he and his wife were indicted in 2012, Jackson lived a glamorous lifestyle, with a pair of Mercedes and a Bentley, largely financed, prosecutors said, by about $900,000 paid out to three day care centers affiliated with Jackson’s church, Ark of Safety Apostolic Faith Temple.
Acting as his own attorney, the bombastic Jackson called his ex-wife, LeKeisa Jackson, as his first defense witness and repeatedly called federal prosecutors liars, occasionally conferring with McQuaid. Both Jackson and his wife, Jannette Faria, were found guilty on all counts. Faria was sentenced earlier this month to 13 months behind bars.
“Hopefully, he can learn a little humility and get on with his rehabilitation,” McQuaid said.