Jesse Jackson Jr. files for divorce from wife, Sandi

SHARE Jesse Jackson Jr. files for divorce from wife, Sandi

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi Jackson, are shown arriving at federal court in Washington in 2013. | AP file photo

Chicago’s onetime political power couple appears to be a couple no more.

Former Rep.Jesse Jackson Jr. has filed for divorce from his wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, after 25 years of marriage, Cook County court records show.

Jackson Jr. filed a certificateof dissolution of marriage on Monday, according to the county’s electronic court docket. Citing “irreconcilable differences” with his wife, he began the proceedings to divorce in Cook Countyin July, as Sandi Jackson was wrapping up a prison term she completed in October.

Sandi and Jesse Jackson both pleaded guilty in August 2013 to various schemes relating to the looting of his congressional campaign fund. The former South Side 7th Ward alderman and the former 2nd Congressional District lawmaker each went to prison for diverting $750,000 from campaign funds for their personal use between 2005 and 2012.

The former congressman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit false statements and mail and wire fraud, his wife to filing a false federal income tax return.

A judge allowed the Jacksons to stagger their sentences so one parent could remain with their son and daughter, both of whom are under 18.Jackson Jr., now 51, wants the children to live with him, according to court documents in the divorce case.

He was givena 30-month sentence, but with time off for good behavior and completion of a substance-abuse program, he served only 23 monthsending in September 2015to return to Washington, D.C., where the couple own a home in the DuPont Circle neighborhood.

Sandi Jackson, now 53, went to prison after that, serving a one-year sentence.

Reached Monday evening, Jackson’s father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, declined to comment.

On his Facebook page, Jesse Jackson Jr. listed his relationship status as “separated.”

According to the divorce case files, Jackson Jr. subpoenaed copies of his wife’s emails sent from prison, as well as text messages and call records from her Verizon cellphone dating back to January 2011.

Sandi Jackson sought an extension to respond to the proceedings in September because she was “presently incarcerated in Alderson, West Virginia and it is very difficult for her to participate in this matter,” filings show.

She filed a motion to dismiss the casein November due to “lack of subject matter jurisdiction,” and the next hearing was scheduled for Jan. 4, 2017.

Messages seeking comment from attorneys on boths sides were not immediately returned Monday night.

Before his indictment, Jackson Jr. had made headlines for his role in the criminal case against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who eventually was convicted for trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

Jackson, who’d lobbied Blagojevich to appoint him to the seat, denied any wrongdoing and was never charged in that case. But the FBI did interview a Washington, D.C., restaurant hostess named Giovana Huidobro — whom Jackson acknowledged was a “social acquaintance” — as part of its probe.

Huidobro told authorities she knew nothing of Jackson’s political dealings regarding the Senate seat, the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 2010. She also said she flew to Chicago on several occasions at Jackson’s request and that Jackson sometimes reimbursed her for her travels.

After the Sun-Times story, Sandi Jackson released a statement saying her family had been “privately addressing” the matter “for two years” and asking the public to “respect our family’s right to continue to handle this matter privately.”

Contributing: Fran Spielman, Lynn Sweet

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