WASHINGTON – A Louisiana congressman accused of taking bribes is challenging his indictment before a federal appeals court in Richmond.
Representative William Jefferson claims the indictment unconstitutionally infringed on his privileges as a congressman. A federal judge rejected that argument in February. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear Jefferson's appeal Wednesday.
The Constitution's speech or debate clause says congressmen "shall not be questioned in any other Place" for speech or debate associated with their legislative work. Jefferson's lawyers say grand jury testimony touched on his legislative duties and therefore tainted the indictment.
Jefferson is accused of receiving more than $500,000 in bribes and demanding millions more between 2000 and 2005. He faces up to 235 years in prison if convicted.