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February 20, 2008

Corrupt GOP contributor gets long below-guideline sentence

As detailed in this Washington Post story, a high-profile corruption sentencing took place yesterday in which the defendant got a dozen years in prison and should feel lucky he did not get a lot more:

Brent R. Wilkes, a California defense contractor and prominent GOP campaign contributor, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison yesterday for lavishing a Republican congressman with money, prostitutes and other bribes in exchange for nearly $90 million in work from the Pentagon.  Wilkes, 53, was convicted in November of 13 felony crimes including bribery, conspiracy and fraud for giving the gifts to former representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), who is serving an eight-year prison term for accepting millions in bribes from Wilkes and others.

The sentence by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns in San Diego was far smaller than the 25-year term federal prosecutors had sought or the 60-year term urged by federal probation officers. U.S. Attorney Karen P. Hewitt said nonetheless that Wilkes "has earned every day of the sentence he received" and that the prison term "reflects the egregiousness of the corrupt conduct."

Wilkes has steadfastly maintained his innocence since being charged a year ago, saying his dealings with Cunningham were legitimate and blaming wrongdoing on others. "I am a man who cares deeply for this community, for my family, for my country," Wilkes said in a brief statement to the court, the Associated Press reported.

The judge said he was troubled by Wilkes's failure to accept responsibility for his crimes. "If you were to do the right thing about this, today is the day to own up," the judge told Wilkes, according to the AP.  "You have no sense of contrition.  You had this corrupt relationship with the congressman and you profited from it."

February 20, 2008 at 07:52 AM | Permalink

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