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March 25, 2015

Ex-U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. to be released from prison

Former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. is set to be released from prison on Thursday to a halfway house in Washington, D.C., after spending roughly half of his 30-month sentence behind bars, USA Today reported.

Former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy told the newspaper he spoke with Jackson at an Alabama prison on Monday.

"I went in there to say hello and catch up and tell him that I wanted to be there for him when he came out," Kennedy told USA Today. "And he told me, 'Guess what? I'm going to be out in almost 48 hours'."

The news was first reported by the Associated Press.

Reuters could not independently verify the report.

Jackson, a former Illinois congressman once considered one of the most promising black politicians in the country, was sentenced in August 2013 to 30 months in prison for misuse of campaign funds.

Jackson, the son of civil rights leader the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., had pleaded guilty to misusing about $750,000 in campaign funds on luxuries such as fur capes, celebrity memorabilia, mounted elk heads and a Rolex watch.

His wife, Sandi, a former Chicago city council member, was sentenced to one year for falsifying tax returns that failed to report the campaign money as income.

The judge ordered Sandi Jackson to report to prison 30 days after Jesse Jackson Jr. was released to reduce the impact on their two children.

Jackson Jr. served in Congress from 1995 until he resigned after re-election in 2012, citing health reasons. He was eventually treated for at least six weeks for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

He was also sentenced to three years supervised release and ordered to perform 500 hours of community service. Sandi Jackson was given 12 months supervised release after she serves time in prison and 200 hours of community service.