Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A federal judge ordered the release of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., from prison after tossing seven of 11 charges for which he was convicted in 2009.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis on Wednesday said Jefferson could remain free until Dec. 1, when he'll be re-sentenced for the three corruption charges left intact; one other conviction was removed in 2016.
Jefferson, 70, is five years into a 13-year sentence.
Jefferson was convicted in 2009 after prosecutors argued he used his position to seek payments to promote the interests of African businesses in the United States. Investigators found $90,000 in case in the refrigerator of Jefferson's New Orleans home.
Ellis ruled it was hard to determine that Jefferson's actions in exchange for the cash constituted an "official act."
"Because there is no assurance that Jefferson would be required to serve a sentence beyond what he has already served," Ellis wrote, his order "will require his immediate release, followed by a prompt re-sentencing."
Jefferson was first held at Beaumont Correctional Center in Texas, but was transferred to a federal prison in Oakdale, La., in January 2014.
Jefferson served nine terms in Congress prior to his conviction. His sentence was the longest one ever handed down to a congressman.
The tossed charges include two counts of solicitation of bribes by a public official, two counts of depriving citizens of honest services by wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. The three charges still intact are conspiracy to solicit bribes, conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and violating the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act, or RICO.