Jesse Jackson Jr. in court

Jesse Jackson Jr. arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. (Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune / February 20, 2013)

WASHINGTON — As former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. awaits sentencing on July 3, his lawyers filed a court document today saying that he needs ongoing mental health treatment and is unlikely to get suitable care if sent to prison.

“It is unlikely that Mr. Jackson will be able to establish a trusting relationship with a Bureau of Prisons psychiatrist quickly enough to maintain his progress toward  improved mental health,” the lawyers wrote.

Two psychiatrists who have treated Jackson, 48, for mental health problems have written letters on his behalf, according to the document. They were not identified and their letters were not made public.

In a sentencing memo filed by Jackson’s lawyers last week, some sections were blacked out. The revised version submitted today discloses some of what was redacted previously, but other portions remain undisclosed.

Newly revealed today are representations from Jackson’s lawyers about both the psychiatrists’ views and Jackson’s condition.

One psychiatrist called Jackson Jr.’s condition a “mood disorder not otherwise specified” and said it probably was bipolar II disorder. The American Psychiatric Association defines bipolar II disorder as the occurrence of “major depressive episodes accompanied by hypomanic episodes,” the lawyers said.

Psychiatric research has tied compulsive purchasing and spending to mood episodes in individuals with bipolar disorder, the lawyers said.

Jackson pleaded guilty in February for taking more than $750,000 from his campaign treasury and spending the money on a Rolex watch, furs, cashmere, vacations, celebrity memorabilia and other goods.

Both psychiatrists stressed the importance of Jackson receiving continued mental health treatment. “Without such treatment, his progress will cease, and he will be much more likely to relapse ...,” the document said. “With effective treatment, his prognosis for good mental health will be significantly improved.”

In the memorandum, Jackson’s lawyers ask that he be shown leniency at sentencing.
Prosecutors want Jackson to be sentenced to four years in prison. The Democratic lawmaker represented Chicago’s South Side for 17 years in Congress until he resigned last November.
His wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, 49, pleaded guilty to not reporting about $600,000 in income on their tax returns over several years.  Prosecutors want her to go to prison for 18 months. Her lawyers want her to be put on probation. Like her husband, she is scheduled for sentencing July 3.

The case is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson — no relation —in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

kskiba@tribune.com

Twitter @KatherineSkiba