Jesse Jackson Jr. drops out of public eye again

(CBS News) Three days ago, as Congress returned to Washington, Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. left the Mayo Clinic.

He's been getting mental health treatment for months -- and right now, he's dropped out of the public eye entirely. CBS News' Jay Levine, of Chicago station WBBM-TV, reported on "CBS This Morning" that Jackson is believed to be in Minnesota with his mother, Jacqueline.

Rep. Jesse Jackson R. leaves Mayo Clinic
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On a recent visit to Capitol Hill, the congressman's office looked like a museum, with pictures and mementos celebrating a 17-year congressional career that seems to be coming to a tragic conclusion.

It may be back to business as usual in Washington, but in Jackson Jr.'s office, it's anything but. Even though his staff is working, his inner office is empty and untouched. The congressman hasn't been in since June, when doctors identified, and then started treatment for a bipolar mood disorder -- first at the Mayo Clinic, then as an outpatient at his Washington, D.C. home.

Persistent reporters and their cameras, Jackson said, literally chased him back to Mayo last month. But he left there on Tuesday, with his parents, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and mother Jacqueline, and hasn't been seen since.

He's not in Washington, nor is he in Chicago, where his wife Sandi, a Chicago city councilwoman, missed a key vote Thursday at a meeting when a health scare involving another family member prevented her from attending.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "It doesn't take a lot to know that's she's balancing a lot, both as a mother, as a spouse, as a public servant."

Adding to the mystery is an investigation into an alleged misuse of campaign funds. Sources tell CBS News that Jackson's legal team is negotiating a plea agreement that could result in his stepping down and doing time.

But it's Jackson's silence that is grabbing the most attention, and even his congressional allies are urging him to speak out: Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said, "The situation has reached the point where he needs to come out and publicly speak, and answer some basic questions about what he's been through."

A number of those who've seen and spoken with Jackson tell CBS News that he's not even close to being ready for such questioning, let alone a full-time return to Congress. In other words, whether or not it's part of a plea agreement, the departure from Congress of a man who was seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party seems inevitable.

For CBS News' Jay Levine's full report, watch the video in the player above.

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