Friday, March 3, 2006
A federal judge today sentenced former San Diego congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham to 8 years and 4 months in prison. The judge used the word "reprehensible" to describe Cunningham's crime of taking two and a half million dollars in bribes in exchange for arranging lucrative government contracts for defense firms. But it was NOT the maximum sentence allowed.
KPBS Reporter Amita Sharma was in the courtroom:
Judge Larry Burns looked stern as he told a solemn Cunningham that his offenses didn't constitute a single lapse in judgment. Burns said quote, 'it wasn't a single u-turn you made a u-turn and continued going in the wrong direction.'
But Jude Burns did give Cunningham credit for living an honorable life before his crime and for his war-hero status in Vietnam. Even though prosecutors said that Cunningham used up his credit for that service, the judge told Cunningham quote, 'you still have equity with me.' Then he gave him two year less than the maximum sentence the government had asked for.
Before the judge sentenced him Cunningham read a statement in court saying he ripped his life to shreds but, he also said if the judge let him go today he would be the best citizen this country has.
Reporting from federal court, Amita Sharma, KPBS news.