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Judge Delays Jackson Jr.’s Request

January 10, 2002

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CHICAGO (AP) _ A judge refused Wednesday to immediately consider U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s contention that a candidate named Jesse Jackson who is running against him in the March primary is a fraud.

The four-term Illinois Democrat and son of the civil rights leader, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, maintains the other candidate is a pawn in a political trick designed to siphon votes from him by confusing voters.

The congressman’s lawyers asked Judge Aaron Jaffe to compel witnesses to testify in the case Wednesday, with the Democratic primary a little more than two months away. The judge instead set a hearing for Monday.

The lawmaker claims political rivals got the other Jackson to run and fraudulently listed his middle initial on the ballot as ``L.″ _ the congressman’s middle initial.

The challenger is a political newcomer with no voter registration. In reviewing public records, elections lawyer Richard Means has said the unknown Jesse Jackson is probably 68-year-old Jesse V. Jackson.

Attorneys for the lawmaker argued that any delay in the case could allow witnesses staying at a homeless shelter to slip away. Some people who were paid to circulate petitions for the congressman’s opponents are staying at the shelter, they said.

But the judge wasn’t swayed. ``Witnesses get lost all the time,″ he said. ``It’s your job as attorneys to hold onto them.″

Efforts by the congressman to convince the state elections board to remove the other Jackson’s name from the ballot are continuing.

On Wednesday, Evangeline Levison, attorney for the political newcomer, argued the elections board is the proper venue for the case, especially if the congressman wants a speedy decision.

``This is a lawsuit,″ she said. ``As everyone knows, lawsuits can go on and on.″

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