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February 20th, 2013
09:16 PM ET

Jackson's seven-year, $750,000 fraud

Journalist Lynn Sweet describes the scene in court when former Rep. Jackson Jr. and his wife pleaded guilty to federal charges related to misusing campaign funds from 2005 to 2012. He could be sentenced up to five years behind bars.

"They both had in court a big display of support from their families, and they'll need it," Sweet tells CNN's Jake Tapper. She says the former Illinois Congressman looked pained and was teary-eyed when he admitted his guilt to the judge.

"What we had here was a scheme and a scam that went on for seven years," Sweet says about the  former representative's crime, which went on for longer than most expected. "Trips to Costco, undergarments, toilet paper, and lavish expenses for a health club, trips - it just is a tragic downfall...it got them caught up in a lifestyle they could not afford." The couple also used the money for Michael Jackson memorabilia and a Rolex watch.

Sweet saw Jackson in the hallway Wednesday, where he gave her a message to deliver to the people in his district. She shares her reaction to the chance encounter and the message in tonight's interview.

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