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Giovana Huidobro, the woman at the center of the scandal: Nightclub hostess, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s "social acquaintance."


Ozio Restaurant and Lounge, 2010. (Aaron Leitko/The Washington Post)

The scandal now surrounding Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is mostly a scandal about money. But as with so many other political imbroglios, there is also a woman in the story.


U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

She is Giovana Huidobro, a hostess at Ozio lounge on M Street NW, whom -- according to a new report from the Chicago Sun-Times -- the FBI interviewed last year while trying to determine if the Chicago Democrat asked a major fundraiser to pay then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for appointing him to a U.S. Senate seat.

Why Huidobro? Because the fundraiser, Raghuveer Nayak, told investigators he twice paid for Huidobro to fly from Washington to Chicago at Jackson's request, the Sun-Times reported.

After the story broke Tuesday, Jackson released a statement strongly denying Nayak's claim that the congressman asked him to offer Blagojevich millions in exchange for the Senate seat. He called the allegations old news and "preposterous."

As for the Huidibro connection, though, Jackson said it was "a private and personal matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago," and asked that reporters respect their privacy.

But who is she? Colleagues and patrons described her to us as a petite, eye-catching Latin American blonde whose presence at Ozio's front door was a potent lure at the martini-and-cigar bar that's seen better days. (A big hit when it opened in the mid-'90s just ahead of the cocktail revival, Ozio lost much of its buzz as newer nightspots opened.) Her unusual name Google-Trended in a big way once the Sun-Times story hit, and desktop detectives quickly found some impressive swimsuit shots on a Peruvian Web site. Home, though, is far from Capitol Hill or the D.C. club scene: She lives in a modest brick-front townhouse in Germantown with what appears to be a Spanish-speaking family group, neighbors told us -- older parents, grown children, a few small kids. She's a runner, sometimes seen walking a little dog.

Huidobro declined to talk to the Chicago paper, and we couldn't catch up with her Wednesday. When we asked about her at Ozio, a manager just smirked at us. "I don't follow the news," he said.

By The Reliable Source  | September 23, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
 
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Comments

It is time for Patrick Fitzgerald to give immunity to Robert Blagojevich and bring him in-front of a Grand Jury. Then we might discover if Jesse Jackson Jr. committed a crime or is in fact an innocent man.

Posted by: mwhoke | September 23, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

What is the value in writing in such detail about this woman? (Other than to make her life miserable) The entire focus of this piece is to essentially let the entire world know where she works and lives. Next time maybe you can print her phone # and SSN? Bottom dweller journalism at it's best -- hope you're proud of your work. Really gross.

Posted by: dbunkr | September 23, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

They couldn't catch the big fish, so they are continuing to waste taxpayer money going after small potatoes.

BTW, if she wasn't a hot blonde, this wouldn't have made the news.

Anyone bored with this cycle yet?
-ex-hot blonde kills herself/son with drugs
-hot blonde murdered in caribbean by male blonde
-hot blonde 'escort' caught with Governor
-hot blonde caught with Presidential candidate (and has baby)
-hot Argentinian caught with SC Governor (not sure if she was blonde)
-hot blondes caught with pro golfer who cheated on his hot blonde wife.
-hot latina blonde (bonus points) tied to congressman.

good grief.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | September 23, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

HUH!!!

Posted by: rlj1 | September 23, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Sex sells....The fund raiser is trying to save his own butt and is willing to spill all he knows...He just threw that hostess thing in to keep the FBI drooling...we all know that agency loves that added to the mix as it keeps people reading about it...

Glad to hear Jr's wife knows about it and they are HANDLING it....Yeah.....

Posted by: pentagon40 | September 23, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Jesse Jackson Jr. Just like his old man! Sleaze to the end. Boo Wow wow Yippy-yo Yippy-yay!

Posted by: curious606 | September 23, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Just had to google the pics of the lady involved....Jesse jr. can say he and his wife are handling it all they want to but after seeing those pics Jesse Jr. is probably continuing to handle IT....

I would have paid her airfare to Chicago also in a heartbeat.....

Posted by: pentagon40 | September 23, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Us to be a ok spot in the mid-90s, now just another "HO" in the wall!!

Posted by: curtis1112 | September 23, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

He is just trying to keep up the democrat tradition of Kennedy, Clinton and his dad?

Posted by: sbf845 | September 23, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

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