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John Wilson Jenrette, Jr.
Democrat, South Carolina (1975-1980)
The Honorable John Jenrette, an up-and-comer in the Democratic party, was one of seven Congressmen caught in the FBI Abscam investigation of political corruption. In December 1979, he was filmed by the feds accepting a bribe and then convicted in December 1983, sentenced to two years in prison and fined $20,000. The following year, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld his conviction. And, to leave no stone unturned, Jenrette took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Court let the conviction stand.
It didn't help having him on surveillance tape saying to an undercover agent, "I've got larceny in my heart." [For other pearls of wisdom, check the Quote Board].
Jenrette served 13 months in federal prison in Atlanta, then two more months in a halfway house in Florence, South Carolina.
Jenrette is a member of the Congressional Prison Caucus.
In January 1981, Jenrette's second wife, Rita, said she was seeking a divorce. Rita found $25,000 in $100 bills (much of it FBI bribe money) in her husband's brown suede shoes. Rita didn't help relations with the constituents back home when she once called the "cornballs."
Rita is probably best known for (1) telling us that she and John had sex on the steps of the U.S. Capitol (and that became a hot stop on the Washington Sex Scandals tour for out-of-towners; and perhaps the inspiration for the song and satire group called "The Capitol Steps"); and (2) posing nude in Playboy. She also wrote, later, about ex-husband John: she found him on Capitol Hill "drunk, undressed and lying on the floor in the arms of a woman who I knew was old enough to be his mother." [Check out what other wives are saying about their BadBoys].
More on Rita in the BadBoys Babes.
But we're not through . . .
Turns out the Honorable ex-congressman was charged with stealing a pair of shoes from a Fairfax County, Virginia, store. He was charged with petty larceny and altering a price tag at a Marshall's department store. Larceny in his heart?
Sources: Patricia Davis, "Ex-Rep. Jenrette Accused of Stealing Shoes," Washington Post, Jan. 7, 1989, B4; Stephanie Mansfield, "The Saga of Rita Jenrette," Washington Post, Mar. 14, 1985, B1; Ann McFeatters, "Sex Scandals Not New, Only the Players Are," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 15, 2001, A10.