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Durbin: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. should give medical update ‘soon’

FILE - In this March 20 2012 file phoU.S. Rep. Jesse JacksJr. D-Ill. thanks supporters his primary electinight party Chicago.

FILE - In this March 20, 2012 file photo, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., thanks supporters at his primary election night party in Chicago. Jackson has been on medical leave for exhaustion for several weeks and Monday, July 9, 2012, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Jackson has a responsibility to tell the public about his medical condition and his whereabouts. Jackson's staff didn't disclose the fact about the leave right away and then reported July 5 that he was in an inpatient facility battling physical and emotional problems worse than initially thought. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

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Updated: August 11, 2012 6:24AM

Sen. Dick Durbin on Monday said the time will soon come when U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. must offer the public details about what’s ailing him and why he’s been on leave for weeks.

“As a public official, there comes a point when you have a responsibility to tell the public what’s going on,” Durbin said at an event in the city. “If there is some medical necessity for him not to say more at this moment then I will defer to that. But he will have to soon make a report on what he’s struggling with.”

Last week, Jackson’s office, in a brief statement, said the congressman had checked himself into an inpatient medical facility for treatment of long-term “physical and emotional ailments.”

The release wasn’t much longer than a statement June 25, announcing Jackson had put himself on a medical leave of absence since June 10 for “exhaustion.”

Durbin noted Monday that Sen. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican who suffered a stroke earlier this year, provided regular updates about his condition that included interviews with his doctors and a video showing his physical rehabilitation progress. Durbin said the video “answered hundreds of questions” for voters.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has said he recently spoke with his congressman son and that the younger Jackson is exhausted and overwhelmed. He has not given details of his son’s condition.

Last month, a fund-raiser and Jackson family friend — Raghuveer Nayak — was arrested by federal authorities on charges he was involved in a business fraud scheme. But an attorney for Jackson has said his client was already on leave by that point and that Nayak’s arrest is not connected to Jackson’s absence.

Jackson is also facing a House Ethics Committee investigation stemming from a secretly recorded FBI tape in which then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was caught saying that Nayak, acting as an emissary for Jackson, had made what Blagojevich believed was a $1.5 million offer in exchange for an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama following his 2008 election as president. Jackson has repeatedly denied he authorized anyone to approach Blagojevich on his behalf and has never been charged.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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