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Contractor gets 12 years for bribing congressman

February 20, 2008|Richard Marosi | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — A former military contractor was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in federal prison for bribing former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham with cash, ritzy vacations and prostitutes in exchange for help in getting government contracts.

Brent R. Wilkes, 53, who was convicted in November on 13 counts involving more than $700,000 in bribes, was taken into custody after the hearing in San Diego federal court. He was ordered to pay more than $1.1 million in fines and forfeitures.

Wilkes' firm, ACDS Inc., which is based in the San Diego suburb of Poway, specialized in storing and analyzing records and intelligence documents. Prosecutors contended that the firm got more than $80 million in contracts in exchange for the bribes.

Cunningham, a decorated Navy fighter pilot who served in Vietnam, was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty in 2006 to taking $2.4 million in bribes and evading more than $1 million in federal income taxes.

Cunningham had a "bribe menu" on congressional stationery indicating how much he demanded from contractors seeking his help, prosecutors said.

Wilkes denied bribing Cunningham, testifying that he believed that giving gifts to members of Congress was an accepted practice among firms trying to obtain military contracts.

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richard.marosi@latimes.com

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