California businessman Brent Wilkes was found guilty Monday of bribing former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.). The end of the Wilkes trial apparently also puts an end to his lawyers’ attempts to subpoena documents and testimony from more than a dozen current Members of Congress. [IMGCAP(1)]
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Wilkes, who was found guilty of providing Cunningham with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts and favors, including the services of two prostitutes, had argued that his activities were simply “business as usual” from companies seeking earmarks in appropriations bills.
Appropriations spokeswoman Kirstin Brost said, “Wilkes is a miserable crook. Now that he’s been caught, instead of saying ‘yep, I’m a crook’ he’s trying to take everybody else down with him. He and Cunningham have put a cloud over Congress that is going to take years to clear.”
In November 2005, Cunningham pleaded guilty to bribery, saying he had accepted more than $2 million in gifts from contractors in exchange for steering government contracts to their companies. He currently is serving an eight-year prison term.
— Paul Singer