Matthew Graves was only months into his position as a fraud and public corruption prosecutor in Washington, D.C., when a particularly delicate matter landed on his desk.

Graves, working with a group of FBI agents, had uncovered evidence that Jesse Jackson Jr., a popular congressman from Illinois and the son of a civil rights hero, had misused $750,000 in campaign money to fund a lavish lifestyle. His wife, Sandra Lee Jackson, a member of the Chicago City Council and the treasurer of his campaign committee, was also implicated. To complicate matters, Jackson was also grappling with bipolar disorder, a factor his attorneys argued contributed to his conduct.