Jesse Jackson Jr. a shopaholic? Others used that argument in sentencing.

SHARE Jesse Jackson Jr. a shopaholic? Others used that argument in sentencing.
SHARE Jesse Jackson Jr. a shopaholic? Others used that argument in sentencing.

If Jesse Jackson Jr. tells a judge he stole and stole from his campaign fund because he couldn’t control himself, he wouldn’t be the first.

Arguing you’re a shopaholic, believe it or not, has been used to a degree of success in federal court.

(In case you missed it, read Sunday’s Sun-Times story on Jesse Jackson Jr. using illness to get break on sentence.)

In 2003, Elizabeth Roach of Chicago was convicted of embezzling $250,000 from her job at then-Andersen Consulting. Her defense at sentencing: She was a shopaholic. Depression led her to shop compulsively, she argued, including for a $7,000 belt buckle and $3,000 earrings at Neiman Marcus.

Prosecutors in D.C. have said they want to have their own experts evaluate Jackson, which isn’t unusual. On Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s office had no further comment and so far haven’t filed anything publicly on the merits of Jackson’s bipolar depression. Jackson and his wife are scheduled for a July 1st sentencing. Though the two agreed to a sentencing range in a plea deal, their lawyers are free to ask for less time.

The ex-congressman’s top lawyer, Reid Weingarten, had said his client’s behavior — embezzling $750,000 from his campaign fund to lavish himself and his wife with a $40,000 Rolex watch, spending $5,000 on four mink and fur capes in one day, rare memorabilia, and pricey vacations — was directly linked to his illness.

In legal circles, asking a judge to give a break in a prison term due to illness comes with the territory. Check out Max Rust’s graphic for how this has worked in the past. Click Here

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