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      Judge: Funds 'personal piggybank' to Jacksons

      A federal judge has sentenced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to 30 months in prison, following his guilty plea that he engaged in a scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items.

      U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Wednesday that as a public official Jackson was supposed to live up to a higher standard.

      Jackson, 48, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, had been a Democratic congressman from Illinois from 1995 until he resigned last November.

      According to court papers in the case, he used campaign money to buy items including a $43,350 gold-plated men's Rolex watch.

      The judge said the Jacksons used campaign funds as a "personal piggybank." Then she added: "This was a knowing, organized, joint misconduct that was repeated and covered up."

      Earlier Jesse Jackson Jr. apologized and his wife asked the judge for mercy. He told the federal judge Wednesday he's sorry for misusing campaign funds and apologizes to the American people and his family.

      They have two children, a 13-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son.