Rep. William Jefferson filed an appeal on Wednesday to the Fourth Circuit to challenge 14 of 16 charges against him. The appeal could delay the prosecution for months.
Part of Jefferson’s claims focus on the use of privileged testimony by aides in the grand jury that was used as the basis for their indictments. Specifically, Jefferson is arguing that the former staffers should not have been allowed to discuss his legislative activities since they are covered by the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III rejected the claim.
However, appellate courts dislike these types of appeals before trial and Jefferson will be at a disadvantage. Moreover, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court would take up the issue. Judges tend to want these issues to run their course at trial with a complete record established before appeal.
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