Friday, March 3, 2006
Former Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison this afternoon in federal court in San Diego. He was also ordered to pay nearly $2 million in back taxes.
Cunningham's defense attorney Lee Blalack argued for leniency before U.S. District
Court Judge Larry Burns, asking that the disgraced former Congressman be spared the maximum 10 year term recommended by prosecutors.
Cunningham appeared to rub tears as his attorney presented arguments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Halpern urged the judge to impose the maximum, saying that as Cunningham was living the good life, he was squandering tax dollars.
The 64 year old Cunningham told the court he must be punished. He was sentenced for accepting $2.4 million from defense contractors and others in exchange for steering government contracts their way. His bribes included a Rolls-Royce, a yacht, homes, travel, meals, Persian rugs valued at $40,000 each and various