A federal judge has refused to toss out a bribery indictment against a Louisiana congressman who argued that his alleged misdeeds were technically more akin to influence peddling than bribery.

In an order made public Tuesday, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a motion filed by U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., that seeks to dismiss 15 of the 16 counts against him.

Prosecutors allege that Jefferson received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for using his influence to broker business deals in Africa.

Jefferson's lawyers argued unsuccessfully that federal bribery laws apply to a congressman only if he takes a bribe in exchange for official action, such as taking votes or sponsoring legislation.