Jesse Jackson jnr pleads guilty to £480,000 campaign fiddle

Former US congressman Jesse Jackson jnr, the son of the ­famous civil rights leader and a one-time rising star in Democratic politics, pleaded guilty yesterday to misusing about $750,000 (£480,000) in campaign money.

Jackson, 47, of Chicago, wept as he entered the plea in US ­District Court in Washington before Judge Robert Wilkins.

“Guilty, your honour. I misled the American people,” Jackson said.

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Jackson, who dropped out of public view last year and had treatment for bipolar disorder, could be sentenced to five years under a plea bargain. He is due to be sentenced on 28 June.

His father, Jesse Jackson snr, sat in the courtroom, filled with family, friends and reporters for the hour-long hearing.

His son was once considered among America’s most promising black politicians. He ran for Congress at age 30, serving from 1995 until last November when he resigned, citing health reasons and acknowledging he was under investigation by the FBI.

At the hearing, he expressed regret for living off his political campaign’s money for years. “I fully understand the consequences of my actions,” he said.

Jackson was accused of shipping a $43,350 men’s Rolex purchased with campaign funds to his Washington address. He also shipped fur stoles and parkas worth $5,150 to the Beverly Hills home of an unnamed person, court documents said.