Former Congressman Begins Serving Abscam SentenceAP , Associated Press
Apr. 5, 1985 3:49 PM ET
ATLANTA (AP) _ Former Rep. John Jenrette of South Carolina entered a federal prison Friday to begin serving his two-year sentence for bribery and conspiracy convictions stemming from the FBI's Abscam investigation.
Jenrette, who was under a court order to surrender at the Atlanta federal penitentiary by 2 p.m. EST, arrived shortly before the deadline, said prison spokesman William Noonan.
He will be housed at the Atlanta Federal Prison Camp, a minimum security facility located outside the security walls at the penitentiary in south Atlanta. Jenrette will get a job assignment that could include work in a power house, warehouse, garage or prison industry, Noonan said.
Jenrette, 48, was among seven members of Congress convicted of corruption charges stemming from the Abscam ''sting'' operation in which the FBI secretly videotaped meetings between Jenrette and undercover agents posing as representatives of a wealthy Arab sheik in need of immigration help.
Jenrette was convicted of taking a $50,000 bribe.
Earlier this year, he decided to serve his sentence, although his case is still on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
After his conviction in October 1980 and his re-election defeat a month later, Jenrette lived in South Carolina and south Florida and worked at various sales jobs.
Once a popular congressman in South Carolina's coastal 6th District, he said he was an alcoholic when the FBI arrested him in the Abscam probe.
Jenrette has asked the Supreme Court to overturn his conviction on grounds that he was convicted unconstitutionally. He maintains he was denied due process because the FBI used undercover agents to induce him to accept a bribe.
He owes the government a $20,000 fine and is also under court order to repay an undetermined share of $102,000 to 95 investors in a real estate deal that failed.
In that case, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that Jenrette and a former partner, C.L. Fielden, must repay everyone who bought time-sharing rights in Club Oristo, a resort on Edisto Island, S.C. A lower court said Jenrette and Fielden had violated state time-sharing laws by failing to provide escrow protection for investors.