In an exclusive interview, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) walked Sneed through the dark days since her husband's "collapse." She also dispelled rumors her husband, who is being treated for depression at Mayo Clinic, attempted suicide or was receiving help for alcohol and drug addiction.
"No, no, none of that is true," said Sandi Jackson, who has been at the helm of her husband's health care since he collapsed at their home in Washington, D.C., on June 10.
Ald. Jackson, who has spent the past month traveling from home to hospital to work, also provided a dramatic timeline for the congressman's stunning absence, which netted sympathy and . . . criticism.
"His collapse was D-Day for us," said Sandi Jackson, who tells Sneed her husband had become "completely debilitated by depression."
She also claims the congressman's world since June 10 has been immersed in a "news blackout."
"We decided to impose a news blackout during his treatment to enable him to heal," said Mrs. Jackson. Reports of Rep. Jackson being upset over the federal indictment of his old friend, Raghuveer Nayak, "can't be true," the alderman told Sneed. That's because Nayak was arrested June 20 - after the blackout was imposed.
"He doesn't know anything about the indictment."
The congressman's collapse had been prefaced by a tough political schedule, scrutiny, scandal and balancing a family life.
"I was in Chicago, when Jesse -who was at home in Washington, D.C., collapsed," she said. "His father, Rev. Jackson, called him on the phone and felt he didn't sound right.
"Jesse told his father he was so exhausted, he couldn't take another step.
"That's when Rev. Jackson and Jesse's brother, Yusef, took him to GW [George Washington] Hospital," said Mrs. Jackson.
"His body was just worn out. I never really wanted him to have the gastric surgery in the first place. He called and told me not to worry, but it was obvious he was suffering from a form of depression.
"So Yusef took him at my suggestion to the Sierra Tucson Treatment Center in Arizona, where they specialize in mental health."