Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigns from Congress, citing health prob - FOX 32 News Chicago

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigns from Congress, citing health problems

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., a once-rising political star who has been on a months-long mysterious medical leave for bipolar disorder while facing separate federal investigations, resigned from Congress Wednesday, citing his health problems.

House Speaker John Boehner received a letter from the congressman, tendering his resignation from representing Illinois' 2nd District.

SEE: Jackson Jr.'s letter to House Speaker John Boehner (PDF)

In his resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Jackson admits "my share of mistakes" and, for the first time, publicly acknowledges that he is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation.

"I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities, and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, accept responsibility for my mistakes," he wrote.

Jackson added: "They are my mistakes and mine alone."

His family in Chicago reacted very emotionally to the news. His sister was in tears, and his brothers distraught. Jackson has represented the 2nd District since 1995, after being elected in a special election himself. His wife is a long time Chicago alderman, who represents the 7th ward.

VIDEO: Cook Co. Clerk David Orr discusses special election to fill Jackson's seat

A statement from Jesse Jackson Jr.'s attorneys released Wednesday afternoon said that, "Mr. Jackson is cooperating with the investigation. We hope to negotiate a fair resolution of the matter but the process could take several months. During that time, we will have no further comment and urge you to give Mr. Jackson the privacy he needs to heal and handle these issues responsibly."

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released this statement regarding Jackson's resignation, saying that the group reacted to the news with "great sadness:"

"His service in Congress was marked by his eloquent advocacy for his constituents' views and interests. Through his public statements and his writings, he presented a fresh perspective on how we work together to form a more perfect union."

Pelosi said that as Jackson works to improve his health, their thoughts and prayers are with Jackson, his wife and their family. She said they are grateful for his long-standing service to the country.

SEE: Rush, Davis say Jackson resignation is nation's loss

Congressmen Bobby Rush and Danny Davis also spoke to reporters in Chicago on Wednesday, hours after their fellow Democrat submitted his resignation letter.

Rush says he's known Jackson since he was toddler. He says he always believed the son of civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson would go on to political success beyond the U.S. House.

Rush says "the sky was the limit" for someone with Jackson's political skill and family pedigree.

Davis says Jackson led the push on key legislation, including better health care for African-Americans. Davis calls it an "unfortunate and sad" day for Jackson, his family and the country.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reacted to news of the resignation also. Said the mayor in a written statement:

"While I'm sure this was a difficult decision for Congressman Jackson, now is the time to look forward. The residents of the 2nd Congressional District will now have an opportunity to choose their next leader to fight for all of us in Washington, DC. My thoughts and prayers and with the Jackson family and I wish Jesse a healthy recovery."

Regarding the future election for the 2nd district, Cook County Clerk David Orr told reporters Wednesday that he wants it to be held on the same day as previously scheduled elections for municipal officials in February and April. Orr says to hold an election on other days could cost more than $1 million. But he says holding the election on an already-scheduled day would cost significantly less money.


FOX 32's Darlene Hill first reported Tuesday night that Jackson Jr. had planned to break his silence at 10 a.m. Wednesday. But after word of a conference call between himself, his Washington staff and his Chicago staff leaked Tuesday night, the congressman felt the need to cancel the call.

SEE: Jesse Jackson Jr. cancels conference call, continues silence: EXCLUSIVE

Sources told FOX 32 that he is still very depressed, and not in control of his emotions consistently enough to make a public appearance. His wellness fluctuates day to day. some days are good, some days are not so good.

The congressman received treatment from Minnesota's Mayo Clinic for bi-polar disorder, and has gone back and forth between home and the clinic at least twice.

He took a medical leave of absence on June 10 – which was disclosed two weeks later - and has not been able to work in Chicago or in Washington for the last five months.

The announcement comes after mounting pressure faced by Jackson as federal investigators appeared to widen their ongoing investigation into the congressman's activities.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Jackson has hired high-profile criminal defense attorney Dan Webb and has been in the midst of plea negotiations with federal prosecutors.

Federal authorities have probed campaign spending by Jackson on personal items, including interior decorating and a luxury watch that was purchased with campaign money for a female friend. The feds are also looking into any knowledge or participation of his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), in the alleged money misuse.

But FOX 32's Darlene Hill also reported first that Jackson would not give up his seat in Congress until he knew that no matter the fallout, his family would be financially stable.

SEE: Jackson Jr. won't resign until he gets disability pay: EXCLUSIVE

The House Ethics Committee is also investigating the congressman regarding his involvement on the alleged sale of President Obama's senate seat when he vacated the position in 2008.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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