Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Grand Old Police Blotter: Wilkes-Behind-Barre Edition

It is tough out here for a pimp, not to mention a pimp's family:

SAN DIEGO – Brent Wilkes, the Poway defense contractor who federal prosecutors contend was the mastermind behind the largest congressional bribery scheme in history, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday.

With his daughter crying behind him, he asked the court to look at his entire life and "not the picture, which I don't believe to be accurate, which the prosecution has tried to paint of me."

U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns urged Wilkes to admit his wrongdoing, something he politely refused to do.

"Today is a day to own up," Burns said. "A guy who cares at least about his family should come clean to them."

A guy who cares about his family shouldn't bribe Congressmen in exchange for wingnut welfare. But that's just me.

Wilkes, 53, who had been free on bond, was convicted on Nov. 5 of conspiracy, bribery, fraud and money laundering in connection with the bribery scheme that brought down former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, once a highly respected war hero.

Cunningham pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion. He was sentenced to eight years and four months in federal prison in March 2006.

Prosecutors said Wilkes' decade-long bribery of the former congressman netted him $46 million.

During Wilkes' trial, prosecutors presented evidence that he showered Cunningham, a Republican congressman from Rancho Santa Fe, with expensive meals, gifts, fancy trips, cash bribes and prostitutes.

In exchange for the gifts and bribes, Cunningham, who then held a seat on a powerful defense committee, used his influence to earmark money in budgets and steer projects that benefitted ADCS, Inc., the Poway defense contracting firm that Wilkes owned.

An investigator said in court papers that the federal government lost at least $30 million and as much as $60 million on the contracts that ADCS was involved in.

If Wilkes can swing it so he shares a cell with the Dukestir, can a reality show documentary on MSNBC be far behind?

Meanwhile, Wilkes' conviction provides further proof, if any was needed, that it only helps to hire Mark Geragos if you're actually innocent of the crime.

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