Ex-Cellmate: Former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Believes Felons ‘Entitled’ to Full Presidential Pardons

Barbara Hollingsworth | May 29, 2014 | 1:09pm EDT
Font Size


Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandra, arrive at federal court in Washington.  (AP File Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CNSNews.com) – A former cellmate of Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. says that the disgraced former congressman “is committed to convincing this President, and all future candidates for the highest office in the land, to take on the ‘Audacity of Forgiveness’” by pardoning all felons who have served their time.

Doing so will “make us all feel better about ourselves as a nation,” fellow inmate John Karoly wrote from “inside the joint” in an eight-page letter to “select media outlets”.

Jackson did a “fastidious job” scrubbing toilets and unclogging drains with a toothbrush at the Federal Correctional Institution at Butner, North Carolina as part of his “personal penance,” Karoly claimed. But “no matter how hard he scrubs, he later tells me that it doesn’t wipe his slate clean.”

“Like the rest of us, he yearns for the forgiveness that has eluded him” which, Karoly added, “Jesse rightly insists is a matter of human entitlement.”

“When you pay off your credit card debt in full, you no longer owe anything. The full utilization of the President’s power to forgive, may be the greatest legacy any President can leave behind,” Karoly wrote in his jailhouse missive.

WMAQ, NBC’s Chicago affiliate, first reported that the station received Karoly’s letter on April 11, accompanied by an affidavit from Jackson authorizing its release.  The story was later picked up by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jackson is seeking presidential pardons “identical to the one President Gerald Ford issued to former President Richard Milhaus Nixon in 1974,” Karoly said in the letter.

“I suddenly realized that if Jesse’s dream takes shape, as I earnestly believe it will,  there will be no contemporary chronicler to tell the world how his ‘forgiveness mission’ was birthed,” wrote the former Democratic National Committee superdelegate who is serving six and a half years at the minimum security prison after being convicted of mail fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.

However, a federal prison official at Butner denied that the former congressman was required to scrub prison toilets, sinks and floors with a toothbrush.

“That is not prison policy,” a spokesman told CNSNews.com. Although he declined to say whether Jackson had been assigned to clean any bathroom facilities, he noted that inmates are given “proper supplies to clean areas, such as mops, brooms, buckets and disinfectant.”

“Toothbrushes,” he added, “are strictly for the mouth.”

Michael Jackson autographed poster from the 25th anniversary of "Thriller" that once belonged to former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.  (AP Photo/Courtesy Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers)

Last October, Jackson began serving his two-and-a-half year sentence at Butner, where convicted con man Bernie Madoff and spy Jonathan Pollard are also doing time.

Last month, Jackson was transferred to a minimum security prison at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, where he continues to collect  $8,700 per month in federal disability payments for his bipolar disorder.

The son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of Operation PUSH, the former congressman was convicted of spending $750,000 of his campaign funds on home improvements, entertainment, travel, and luxury items, including a fur-lined cape and signed Michael Jackson posters.

However, he was not charged in the scheme to sell President Obama’s old Senate seat that sent former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to another federal prison in Colorado for 14 years.

Karoly failed to pay more than $5 million in taxes after he took a deduction on a $500,000 gift to the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. He then had the foundation transfer the money to his church, which sent it to the Urban Wilderness Foundation, a charity he founded and on whose board he sat as the sole member.

mrc merch