Skip to comments.Poway contractor guilty of bribing Cunningham (Brent Wilkes)
Posted on 11/05/2007 12:41:35 PM PST by calcowgirl
SAN DIEGO --- A jury on Monday found a Poway defense contractor guilty of bribing former North County Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.
The contractor, Brent Wilkes, was charged with bribing the Republican politician with more than $625,000 in cash on top of luxury vacations and jet boats in exchange for millions of taxpayer dollars in the form of contracts for his company.
Wilkes faced 13 counts: one count of conspiracy, one count of bribery, one count of money laundering and 10 counts of wire fraud. He was found guilty on all counts Monday morning.
The 53-year-old San Diego County native faces up to 20 years when he is sentenced.
The verdict marks the first time a jury has weighed in on any case emerging from the Cunningham scandal, the largest congressional bribery case ever uncovered.
From 1997 to 2004, Wilkes' company, ADCS Inc., saw more than $80 million in government contracts. Prosecutors said Wilkes greased Cunningham to earmark federal money for Wilkes' company, and had the congressman bully Pentagon staffers who questioned the invoices or the work.
Cunningham, a Navy top-gun pilot turned congressman turned criminal, is serving an eight-year sentence for his admission that he took $2.4 million in bribes.
According to testimony, Wilkes started coming around Cunningham regularly in 1997, right after the congressman won a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. The position allowed the politician to set aside money for pet projects, like those handled by Wilkes' company.
Wilkes repeatedly denied accusations that he bribed the congressman. Wilkes' attorney, Mark Geragos, said his transactions with Cunningham were all legitimate dealings with innocent explanations that prosecutors never looked into.
Wilkes took the stand a week ago and blamed any shady dealings on his one-time consultant, Mitchell Wade, and Joel Combs, Wilkes' nephew and a high-level employee in his company.
In addition to Wilkes and Cunningham, the investigation into the bribery ---- spawned by a newspaper story in 2005 ---- netted charges against three other men: two men, including Wade, who pleaded guilty to a role in bribing the politician, and another man who still faces trial.
Combs testified against his uncle under a grant of immunity.
SAN DIEGOA defense contractor was found guilty Monday on all counts of bribing former San Diego Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in what has been the only trial to emerge from the nation's biggest Congressional corruption scandal.
Brent Wilkes was convicted of 13 counts of conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and wire fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Two co-conspirators also have pleaded guilty to felony crimes in their dealings with the lawmaker, including former Wilkes employee Mitchell Wade, who admitted giving Cunningham more than $1 million in kickbacks for about $150 million in government contracts.
In a separate federal case, Wilkes is charged with offering former CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, a childhood friend, a job and treating him to luxurious golf vacations in return for help getting contracts from the supply agency.
Wilkes' lawyers have said their client was simply being generous to an old friend. Both men have pleaded not guilty to 30 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
No trial date has been set in that case.
SAN DIEGO Brent Wilkes has been convicted of 13 felonies for bribing former congressman Randy Duke Cunningham with expensive meals, trips, a yacht and mortgage payments for his Rancho Santa Fe mansion in exchange for lucrative government defense contracts.
The verdict was announced just before noon, today. The jury had been deliberating since Wednesday.
The verdict ended the three-week-long trial that was awash in bureaucratic acronyms like GDIC and FIRES, and the minutia of congressional budgets. It was also punctuated by eye-popping revelations of $4,000 dinners at Las Vegas resorts, a stay in a $6,600-per-night Hawaiian suite and the salacious appearance of two prostitutes who said they were hired to have sex with Wilkes and Cunningham.
The 53-year-old Poway defense contractor faces at least 20 years in prison.
Chances are Cunningham is not the only crook in Washington they bribed. Facing 20 years, maybe this guy will name some names.
MURTHA?? MURTHA??? MURTHA????
Every Set Aside that a congress criter does is a potential subject of bribery. Ones that go around the govt bidding system a really suspicious. The press should disclose every one of these in the local districts, so that enemies and friends alike can examine the circumstances.
Not long enough for what crooks like this do to the party.
“Not long enough for what crooks like this do to the party.”
Absolutely - him getting caught could ruin it for everyone!
The way they convicted Duke, and now Wilkes, was because they did name names, with several co-conspirators testifying against him. Wilkes threw lots of campaign donations around to lots of politicians. Those weren't what got it him trouble--it was the out and out bribes to Cunningham.
Wilkes threw lots of campaign donations around to lots of politicians. Those weren’t what got it him trouble..
Who is John Murtha? is he that War Hero who fought in Vietnam? Oh, he is the one who almost was indicted in Abscam! and the Chairman of the Comm. Duke Cunningham sat on. Is he the one they call the King of Pork? Something really smells in the pigpen.
I was just going to post that.
As I have said about Murtha several times before, I knew a couple of guys when I was in the Marines who did some stupid things and received OTH discharges. I feel that they had more honor than That a-hole Murtha. I do not care that he has some medals and an honorable discharge, he is an embarrassment to the Corps!
Is that the only attorney he could get?!
We can only hope so.
Will somebody smarter than me look in Murtha’s closet ?? Freezer?? Any live boys or dead women hiding under his beauty rest?
My first reaction to this article was: How could this happen since defense contracts are placed by DOD or other agencies. Congress doesn't give out contracts.
The quote above explains it all. Earmarks are the answer. If ever there was a scheme designed to solicit bribes it has to be the use of Earmarks. The great Dennis Hassert plan for 1000 years of Republican rule by earmarking the Pubbies to victory has really come home to roost.
The lesson we all should learn from this is simply that Earmarks are both the facilitator and the indicator of corruption in government. They should be outlawed.
May some be Democrats.
And what a congress of stinks!- Roots ripe as old bait, Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich, Leaf mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks, Nothing would give up life: Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.
- Theodore Roethke
There has been a rumor to that affect.
“Not long enough for what crooks like this do to the party.”
Forget the party - Not long enough for what crooks like this do to the country!
Brent Wilkes (left, with attorney Mark Geragos)
is seen outside court in downtown San Diego today.