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Congressman Jackson leaves clinic amid reports of resignation talks

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 25, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Sega
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 25, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Sega

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he has been treated for bipolar disorder, a spokesman for the clinic said on Tuesday.

The news follows media reports that Jackson has hired a lawyer to handle negotiations with the federal government on a possible plea deal to settle allegations he misused campaign funds. The plea deal would include Jackson's resignation from the U.S. House and prison time, according to media reports.

Mayo Clinic spokesman Nick Hanson could not say when the Chicago Democrat left the clinic. "He is no longer a patient here," Hanson said. "I don't know where he is."

CBS 2 television and Fox News Chicago have reported that Jackson hired Dan Webb, a former U.S. attorney in Chicago who represents defendants in high-profile corruption cases, to negotiate on behalf of the 47-year-old lawmaker.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the investigation has expanded to include Jackson's wife, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson.

Jesse Jackson Jr. was easily re-elected to Congress on November 6. Webb and a spokesman for Jackson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jackson, the son of civil rights activist and former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, has been on medical leave from the House since June and has not been seen in public. He has been treated for bipolar disorder, a psychological condition marked by extreme mood swings.

(Reporting By Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Greg McCune)

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