Tag Archives: Randy Cunningham

The Wilkes Trial: Just A Preview For The Lewis Indictment?

Josh Marshall is puzzled by the defense strategy employed by celebrilawyer Mark Geragos for corrupt defense contractor Brent Wilkes.  So far he’s called to the stand exactly one witness, who pretty much just called Wilkes a nice guy.  That hardly refutes the voluminous amounts of evidence showing Wilkes’ multiple bribery schemes.

So what’s the strategy?  Perhaps Geragos is hanging Wilkes out as a possible flipper for a bigger fish:

The only logic I can see to this is based on something a lawyer friend told me. If Wilkes tries to push an ‘everybody does it’ too hard at trial then he’s locked himself to a set of facts that will make it a lot harder for him to turn around and cut a deal in exchange for serving up Bill Lowery and Rep. Lewis (R-CA).

That makes sense, I guess. Though I think I need to guard against a professional investment in having it having it be true since Wilkes serving up these two jokers would be a veritable festival of muck, something akin to taking a pin to a muck balloon. But in that case, why’d he go to trial in the first place? Something about the whole thing just doesn’t fit to me.

Me neither.  But we do know that Lewis is getting nervous about further investigation, because his staffer just told the Justice Department to go eat a fig.

According to RollCall, a former staffer for the House Appropriations Committee that worked for then Chairman Jerry Lewis said he intends to defy a federal subpoena he was served today from the US District Court for the Central District in California…

The staffer, Greg Lasker, is trying to hide behind the “speech and debate” clause of the Constitution and claim that the subpoena is not consistent with the “rights and privileges of the House.”  I guess it’s a lead-by-example thing, the President and his staff doesn’t see any need to comply with subpoenas, so why should Lasker?

After months of dormancy, the new US Attorney in Los Angeles, Thomas O’Brien, appears to have ramped up the Lewis investigation.  Stay tuned…

(in other news, Duke Cunningham is a complete idiot)

Try Getting This Image Out Of Your Memory


A prostitute whom prosecutors say a defense contractor provided to former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham testified Wednesday that the congressman fed her grapes as she sat naked in a hot tub before they headed to a bedroom at a Hawaiian resort.

Is dry heaving due to something I read that’s not work-related on company time covered on my group plan?

(This came out in the Brent Wilkes trial, by the way, as just one of the gifts offered in bribe from the defense contractor to members of Congress.  But if you’re reading this far, you have an AMAZINGLY strong stomach.)

Even More Doolittle/Mitchell Wade/Brent Wilkes/US Attorney News

Josh Marshall delivers some knowledge about Mitchell Wade, a defense contractor and Duke Cunningham briber whose first contract in government was to screen the President’s mail for anthrax, despite having no real expertise in that arena.

This is a known briber receiving a sweetheart contract from the Executive Office of the President.  And who’s in the middle of it?  John Doolittle and his wife.  Mitchell Wade and Brent Wilkes worked closely together to bribe or otherwise give recompense to Duke Cunningham in exchange for contracts.  They appear to have done something similar with Doolittle.

flip it…

Julie Doolittle was working at (Ed) Buckham’s offices in 2002 when Buckham introduced Brent Wilkes to her husband. Federal contracts for his flagship company, ADCS Inc., were drying up, partly because the Pentagon had been telling Congress it had little need for the company’s document-scanning technology. So Wilkes was trying to get funding for two new businesses.

One was tied to the 2002 anthrax scare, when tainted letters were sent to Capitol Hill. Wilkes’ idea was to have all Capitol Hill mail rerouted to a site in the Midwest, where ADCS employees wearing protective suits would scan it into computers and then e-mail it back to Washington.

He called his proposed solution MailSafe – similar to the names of several anti-anthrax companies launched at that time – and began vying for federal contracts, even though the company had little to its name other than a rudimentary Web site.

The House Administration Committee, on which Doolittle sat, oversees the congressional mail system. Doolittle told his colleagues about MailSafe and introduced them to Wilkes, but the project never got off the ground.

The project failed in the House Administration Committee but succeeded in the White House.  The question is, did Doolittle have a role in introducing executive staffers to Wade and Wilkes?  Did he receive any financial reward?

And the larger question, of course, is the fact that there are documented instances of Doolittle receiving money in contributions from Brent Wilkes, if not Wade.  When Carol Lam opened her investigation into Wilkes and Dusty Foggo in May 2006, Doolittle was clearly likely to be implicated in that chain if the matter was investigated closely enough.  And right at that time, the Justice Department made a deal to deny Lam resources and keep her on “a short leash.”  While she was able to indict Wilkes and Foggo, the investigation never went any further, and Lam was fired.

Two weeks after then-U.S. Attorney Carol Lam ordered a raid on the home and offices of a former CIA official last year – a search prompted by her investigation of now-imprisoned former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham – higher-ups at the Justice Department privately questioned whether they should give her more money and manpower.

“There are good reasons not to provide extensive resources to (Lam),” Bill Mercer, acting associate attorney general, wrote to Kyle Sampson, who was chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales until he resigned a couple of weeks ago […]

The day after this Mercer missive, Sampson directed Mercer in an e-mail to have a “heart-to-heart” with Lam about “the urgent need to improve immigration enforcement in San Diego.”

“Put her on a very short leash,” Sampson wrote. “If she balks – or otherwise does not perform in a measurable way by July 15, remove her.”

A month later, Justice Department higher-ups were referring to Lam derisively, saying she “can’t meet a deadline” that her production was “hideous” and that she was “sad.”

Five months later, Lam was told she was being fired.

There’s good reason to believe that the resources were withheld somewhat deliberately, to make a plausible case that Lam couldn’t handle her immigration workload.  This is nonsense, and Paul Kiel does an excellent job of calling it nonsense.  The truth is that immigration was a red herring; Lam was fired because of her investigations, which (if unchecked) would lead not only into the FBI but into the Executive Office of the President himself, and which would have picked up a lot of Congressional flotsam along the way.

And one of the chief pieces of flotsam was John Doolittle.  He has disqualified himself for any future holding of public office.  We need to continue to drain this swamp of corrupt sleazebags who view government as their own personal feedbag.  Charlie Brown is a man of extreme integrity who would restore honor to that seat in Congress.  He deserves our support.











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Charlie Brown (CA-04) $
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Money Trumps Peace

Brent Wilkes loves the smell of rolling tanks in the morning… smells like cash:

When Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes heard that the United States was going to go to war with Iraq, he was ecstatic, say several former colleagues.

“He and some of his top executives were really gung-ho about the war,” said a former employee of his now-defunct firm ADCS Inc. “Brent said this would create new opportunities for the company. He was really excited about doing business in the Middle East.”

He was especially excited about the prospect of damaged tanks and aircraft and a shortage of ordnance and dead soldiers and Iraqis… ’cause you, that’d all have to be REPLACED!

Allow me to advocate for something that will never happen.  All defense work should be nationalized, budgeted modestly and scrutinized year over year, and irrelevant or obselete programs should simply be dismantled.  The inevitable outcome of a private defense industry is that war is advocated as a means to prop up the economy.  And private contractors will use all illegal means at their disposal to get a jump on the competition.  We now have war cheerleaders in the private sector, bribing public officials (as they have for decades) and ensuring that the stance of the country is belligerence.  I think George W. Bush said it best yesterday is a little-remarked-upon but brutally honest portion of his press conference.

“Money trumps peace.”

When the Iraq war began in 2003, Wilkes redoubled his efforts to woo politicians and officials in the Pentagon and CIA.

“He was trying to build a business in the Middle East and needed support from some politicians,” said a former employee, who asked not to be named for fear of being drawn into the court case. “It was one of the things (the top executives of ADCS) were really excited about.”

Wilkes’ plan to deliver water to Iraq began in the summer of 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion. At the time, CIA operatives in Iraq were relying on contractors in Kuwait and other friendly countries to supply them with bottled water, first-aid kits and other provisions.

Wilkes had little obvious experience ferrying goods overseas, especially to a war zone. But he wanted the CIA supply business to go to his holding company, Group W. He was aided by Foggo, who was then a logistics officer in Frankfurt, Germany, overseeing CIA purchases throughout Europe and the Middle East, including Iraq.

It doesn’t matter if it’s water or the B-2 Bomber.  The point is that an economy predicated on the war machine (and take a look at some manufacturing sector numbers to see the proof of that) must have war to feed itself.

“Money trumps peace.”

Incidentally, some House Democrats are working to keep Carol Lam, the prosecutor who brought about the Wilkes-Foggo indictments, and who is being forced out of her job as US Attorney by the Justice Department, on the case as an outside counsel.  They sent a letter to Attorney General Gonzales today.

Carol Lam’s indictments of Foggo and Wilkes underscore the importance of last week’s request and the need for an explanation of why these diligent public servants were dismissed. It is vital that U.S. Attorneys be able to prosecute wrongdoing free from political pressure. We are pleased that the Department of Justice has also agreed to brief members of the House Judiciary Committee on the dismissals of Carol Lam and other U.S. Attorneys. We look forward to further details regarding the date for that briefing and your response regarding the request to appoint Carol Lam as an outside counsel to finish the Cunningham and related investigations.

This won’t happen for a simple reason.

“Money trumps peace.”

UPDATE: So do hookers.

On or about August 15, 2003, at approximately 6:30 p.m., [Wilkes] provided [Cunningham] and assorted other guests with a dinner served on a private lawn outside the Hapuna Suite [approximately $6,600 per night at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Island of Hawaii]; which consisted of Seafood Gyozas of Kona Lobster, shrimp, scallops, seared hawaiian snapper, “Manoa” lettuce leaves, and an open bar featuring fine wines;

On or about August 15, 2003, at approximately 11 p.m., Prostitutes “A” and “B” and their “driver” arrived at the Hapuna Suite. Persuant to [Wilkes’] instructions, an ADCS [Wilkes’ company] employee escorted the prostitutes into the Suite and paid the driver $600 in cash;

On or about August 15, 2003, after approximately 15 minutes in the suite, [Wilkes] and [Cunningham] escorted Prostitutes “A” and “B” upstairs to separate rooms. At approximately midnight, Wilkes tipped Prostitute “A” $500 for the services;