Update: a funny tidbit from an interview with the authors (h/t TPM)–Duke thinks he’s going to be pardoned:
His wife, Nancy Cunningham, said in an interview with Kitty Kelley last year that he claimed he was innocent, had been railroaded by the government, that he had signed the plea agreement under duress, and that he even thinks he will pardoned by President Bush.
Just when you thought you couldn’t be any more disgusted by Duke Cunningham, the two reporters who brought him down write a book that brings you this:
…even Wilkes drew a line on what he would do for the congressman. For one thing, Wilkes was totally disgusted by the hot tub Cunningham put on the boat’s deck during the autumn and winter. What repelled Wilkes — and others invited to the parties — was both the water Cunningham put in the hot tub and the congressman’s penchant for using it while naked, even if everybody else at the party was clothed. Cunningham used water siphoned directly from the polluted Potomac River and never changed it out during the season. “Wilkes thought it was unbelievably dirty and joked if you got in there it would leave a dark water line on your chest,” said one person familiar with the parties. “The water was so gross that very few people were willing to get into the hot tub other than Duke and his paramour.” That was a reference to Cunningham’s most frequently seen girlfriend, a flight attendant who lived in Maryland.
Previous quote continued:
One of these parties started at the Capital Grille with Cunningham ordering his usual filet mignon — very well done — with iceberg lettuce salad and White Oak. Wilkes used the dinner to update Cunningham on the appropriations he wanted. Cunningham then took the whole group back to the boat where they drank more wine, sitting on white leather sofas while Cunningham told more war stories. Cunningham then took his clothes off and invited all to join him in the polluted hot tub that was hidden from the neighbors by a white tarp. There were no takers.
Two slight digressions: (1) very-well-done is a desecration of filet mignon, (2) the first and only review of it on Amazon is incredibly annoying in that it tries to make this a problem “that pervades both sides of the aisle (Republican and Democrat).” Yes, the Dukestir, you know he was practically a Democrat…or something. Somebody already rated it not helpful (pile on if you have an account), let’s hope we get some better ones up to replace it.
The publisher’s summary:
Duke Cunningham was an All-American success story. The Midwestern boy who went off to war, became a hero, and rode his fame into Congress even bragged that Tom Cruise played him in a popular movie. But the fall of this “Top Gun” was almost as epic and just as cinematic. Today he sits in prison, branded as the most corrupt member of Congress in U.S. history.
Hmm, except I’d actually like to get in a hot tub with Tom Cruise (“Top Gun”-era/pre-crazy Tom that is).
As I mentioned, the book is by the two San Diego Union-Tribune (Copley News) reporters who broke many of the Dukestir stories and brought about his downfall:
The authors were on the team that won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. Jerry Kammer has been a correspondent for Copley News Service since 2002. Marcus Stern has been in Copley’s Washington Bureau for twenty-two years. Dean Calbreath has been a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune for more than eight years. George E. Condon Jr. has been Washington bureau chief for Copley since 1984. Stern, Calbreath, and Kammer all received the George Polk award. Stern and Kammer also share the Edgar Poe award.
While I can’t praise them enough for that, I wish they’d get busy on any number of other San Diego area Republicans. Heaven knows there is no shortage of material for them to work with around here. I’m actually quite disappointed that they haven’t kept this going. Let’s hope that now they’ve finished this book they can get back to work (of course then there’s the book tour…sigh…)