More than a dozen of the $100 bills the wife of former representative John Jenrette (D-S.C.) said she found in her husband's closet last week were part of the abscam bribery money he was convicted of taking, according to sources.
Jenrette consistently has denied taking the money from FBI undercover agents and told The Washington Post Monday: I can assure you if the money came from Abscam I'll walk into jail right now."
A preliminary spot-check Monday of the more than $25,000 Jenrette's estranged wife, Rita, said she discovered did not uncover any Abscam bills. But a complete check of the $100 bills yesterday by FBI agents showed that several of the serial numbers did match, the sources said.
Jenrette could not be reached for comment last night. But earlier he had said that the cash came from a variety of sources, including legal funds donated by friends in South Carolina, money from his law office and "money my mother gave me before she died."
The former congressman, who resigned after his Abscam conviction and reelection defeat, told The Post that he got the money from the sale of certificates of deposit.
Though Jenrette testified under oath during his trial that he never received any of the Abscam money, a Justice Department official said last night that he is in no danger of an additional perjury indictment.
One Justice official noted last night that since only part of the money Rita Jenrette found was from the Abscam agents, the department is interested in where the rest of it came from. "we're always interested in the source of $25,000 in cash in a congressman's closet," he said.