CHICAGO Former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. began his first day of a 30-month sentence in federal prison on Tuesday, a prison official said, one day after Jackson's spokeswoman said he had reported to the facility in North Carolina.
Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., was convicted of misusing campaign funds. He was due to report to prison no earlier than Friday, November 1, according to a judge's order.
But family spokeswoman Bunnie Jackson-Ransom said in a statement on Monday that Jackson had reported to a federal correctional facility in Butner, North Carolina. The Chicago Tribune, quoting a Butner official, earlier said Jackson had arrived at the facility, but had been turned away.
This could not be confirmed by U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke. However, Burke did confirm that Jackson was in custody at Butner as of 11 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.
"I don't have any details," Burke said. "In general terms, when an inmate self-surrenders, it's important that the inmate and our agency are in compliance with the judge's order."
It was not clear why Jackson was admitted to the prison on Tuesday when the judge's order said he should report no earlier than November 1.
Jackson's guilty plea in February was for misusing about $750,000 in campaign funds on such luxuries as fur capes, celebrity memorabilia, mounted elk heads and a Rolex watch.
When he reported to prison on Monday, "Congressman Jackson apologized again and expressed sincere regret for causing so much pain and sadness to his family, his constituents and his friends," the statement released on Monday said.
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 couple has two children. The judge ordered Sandi Jackson to report to prison 30 days after Jackson Jr. is released to reduce the impact on the children.
Jackson Jr. served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 until he resigned after re-election last year, citing health reasons.
He disappeared from public view in the summer of 2012 and speculation swirled for weeks about his condition. He eventually was treated for bipolar disorder.
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; editing by Greg McCune, G Crosse)