Rep. John W. Jenrette Jr. (D-S.C.) asked a federal court here yesterday for immediate trial on any evidence the government may have against him.
Jenrette, one of seven House members said to have been videotaped agreeing to trade influence for cash in the FBI's undercover Abscam operation, said he would waive his right to a grand jury inquiry and indictment.
"If the government has telephone recordings and video tapes of bribe offers and acknowledgements of acceptance of money or promises to perform criminal acts, then they should charge [Jenrette] and let us get on with the trial where all the evidence can be presented and the truth can be obtained," Jenrette lawyer Kenneth M. Robinson said in court papers filed with Chief Judge William B. Bryant at U.S. District Court.
Robinson said in the papers that the government is deliberately delaying prosecution through the grand jury proceedings in order to scare off witnesses favorable to Jenrette and to give the government an unfair advantage in preparation of its case.
It has been reported that Jenrette met with FBI undercover agents in connection with the Abscam operation at a house on W Street NW. Later a Richmond businessman, described in reports as a go-between for Jenrette, went to the house and allegedly accepted money. Jenrette has acknowledged that he accepted $10,000 from the businessman but described it as a loan.
Robinson, in court papers, said that Jenrette has an absolute right to go immediately to trial without any indictment. It is expected, however, that it has to consent to any waiver of a grand jury indictment.