ABC News’ Jordan Hultine Reports: Democratic strategist Donna Brazile urged Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., to resign in an interview aired Wednesday on National Public Radio’s News and Notes.
"I personally hope that he would do what’s best for his family and his constituents and put his legal case before everything else and allow someone else to step up and represent that district," Brazile told NPR.
Jefferson represents the still vulnerable city of New Orleans and Brazile continued, "If there’s one congressional district in America that needs a full time lawmaker focused and committed to the recovery of the Gulf Coast, it’s the second congressional district of Louisiana."
A federal grand jury delivered a 16-count indictment of Jefferson on Tuesday that includes charges of money laundering, racketeering, and obstruction of justice.
Brazile, who served as Vice President Al Gore’s chief of staff during his 2000 presidential bid, said she’s known Jefferson since she was an intern with the Louisiana state legislature.
"He’s a hard worker, he’s been a dedicated public servant, but this probe, these allegations are a distraction," Brazile said.
She said she believes the pressure on Jefferson to step down now will come from two sources: his colleagues on the Democratic side of Congress and also from the people back at home in New Orleans.
In the wake of the indictment, the House took initial steps that could lead to Jefferson’s expulsion from Congress.
"I’m also pleading because of the residents of that great, wonderful city that needs his leadership, needs his attention. And right now he can not give them his full… I’m not playing this as a political game. I’m playing this personally because my own family and many other families in the Gulf Coast," Brazile said.