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Grand Jury Subpoenas Issued in Probe of Congressman

A U.S. District Court has issued grand jury subpoenas to six aides to Rep. William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who has been implicated in a bribery case.

In statements read on the House floor Thursday, the aides notified House Speaker Dennis Hastert that they had been served with grand jury subpoenas for testimony issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The court, located in Alexandria, Va., is set to hand down a sentence to a former aide to Jefferson, Brett Pfeffer, who last January pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting bribery of a public official and conspiracy.

Pfeffer, 37, who faces up to 20 years in prison, said a congressman demanded bribes in exchange for his assistance in brokering two African telecommunications deals. Court documents make clear that Jefferson is the accused congressman without specifically naming him.

Jefferson, who has not been charged with a crime, has denied the allegation, saying he has never demanded or accepted anything to perform a service for which he was elected.

Jefferson represents parts of New Orleans that were hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina.

The six staff members — a district manager, a legislative assistant and four congressional aides — said in their statements that they had consulted with the Office of General Counsel and determined that compliance with the subpoena "is consistent with the precedents and privileges of the House."