Thursday, December 13, 2012
Former Rep. Randy "Duke'' Cunningham, R-San Diego, imprisoned in 2006 for bribery, fraud and tax evasion, is now at a federal halfway house in New Orleans and has a release date of June 4 next year, a Bureau of Prisons spokesman said today.
Cunningham, now 71, was sentenced to eight years and four months behind bars. In addition to pleading guilty to tax evasion and conspiracy, he admitted receiving at least $2.4 million in gifts, cash and trips from defense contractors in exchange for steering government work their way.
Since being incarcerated, Cunningham has denied accepting bribes and said he regretted his plea.
Prior to the bribery scandal, Cunningham represented California's 50th Congressional District for 14 years. He resigned amid his legal woes. Prior to politics, he flew an F-4 Phantom fighter jet for the U.S Navy during the Vietnam War.
At the halfway house, the ex-congressman will have to seek work and go through programs designed to prepare inmates for their release, said Edmond Ross, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons. Inmates can go out into the community with permission, but must spend each night in the facility.
The inmates can also reconnect with their families at the halfway house, according to Ross.
Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns denied a request for Cunningham to possess a firearm so he could hunt and participate in sport shooting contests. In a letter to the judge, he said he plans to live out his days with his mother and brother in rural Arkansas, writing books.
Burns said in his response that the 1968 federal law banning felons from possessing weapons contains no exemptions for hunting and sport shooting and that Cunningham could only bypass the law by receiving a waiver from the Secretary of the Treasury.
Cunningham spent most of his sentence at a prison in Tucson. In a letter to San Diego CityBeat, he said he spent his mornings teaching fellow prisoners who were seeking their Graduate Equivalency Degree, known as a GED, and his afternoons instructing adults.