Tag Archives: Brent Wilkes

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.)

Cunningham bribed himself

Or maybe he stole the money out of Brent Wilkes pocket while he wasn't looking. Or so the story goes at Wilkes's trial in San Diego:

The defense lawyer for Poway businessman Brent Wilkes told a federal court jury Tuesday morning that his client never bribed former San Diego congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham – and he guaranteed he would call the imprisoned ex-legislator to back that up. (SD U-T 10/09/07) 

Incidentally, that defense lawyer? Mark Geragos.  Of Michael Jackson fame. Wow, he gets all the big cases now, huh? All the real winners.  Geragos goes on to blame everything on rogue consultant Mitchell Wade, who plead guilty earlier in the case. The federal prosecutors have a case too:

Halpern detailed for the panel what he said was a pattern of lavish gift-giving from Wilkes to Cunningham, as well as two cash payments from 1997 to 2004 to the congressman that Halpern said were intentionally obscured so as not to be revealed as bribes.

The trial really brings you back to the heady halcyon days of the “Duke Stir”. May it continue for 13 more months. 

Congratulations To Us!

CREW just released their 3rd annual “Most Corrupt Members of Congress” report.  They list 22 members of Congress as the most corrupt.  And with 5 members, California wins for the most on the list!!!

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-CA)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-CA)

On behalf of all Golden Staters, I want to thank all of these Representatives for having the wisdom, foresight, and venality to give the state this honor.  Sure, the ENTIRE Alaska delegation is on the list, making them slightly mnore corrupt.  But 5 out of 22 is not bad.  Not bad indeed.  Especially when you consider that there are only 19 federal representatives who are Republican, and 5 of them made the list!  That’s called dedication!

These guys might want to worry about the fact that Brent Wilkes just subpoenad a bunch of them.

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, House Republican Whip Roy Blunt and 11 other members of Congress have been subpoenaed to testify in the trial of a defense contractor charged with bribing jailed former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

All of the lawmakers said they do not intend to comply with the subpoenas.

Those subpoenad include Hunter, Lewis, Doolittle, and as a bonus, Rep. Darrell Issa, who claimed “This subpoena is a mystery.”  House lawyers have said it would be against House rules to comply.

It looks like Wilkes’ team of lawyers is set to argue that the lawmakers asked for the bribes, rather than the other way around.  I think giving bribes is a crime, regardless of who asked for them, so I don’t know how this will fly.  But clearly, this could damage some Congressional reputations.  Or in the case of the CREW list, enhance them!  Let’s go for 6 in 2008!

Cunningham Conspirators Getting Punchy

“On no occasion did I contemplate he would be vacationing in Greece pending sentencing,” [U.S. District Judge Larry] Burns said.

Thus continues the sands through the hourglass of the Cunningham corruption scandal.  Burns ruled that the case against mortgage broker and co-conspirator Thomas Kontogiannis will continue despite objections from his nephew’s lawyers (nephew John Michael is also on trial for money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice).  Michael’s lawyers claim that Kontogiannis has continued to engage in fraud with full knowledge of prosecutors since his plea in February.

What fraud?  Well, ongoing mortgage fraud from New York apparently.  Mr. Kontogiannis has been a busy boy though as, despite surrendering his passport and agreeing to only leave the country in the company or with the permission of federal agents, he’s been chilling on vacation in Greece.

But w- w- w- w- wait it gets worse.

In court papers filed last month, [Michael lawyer] Granger also revealed that in 2005 Kontogiannis’ daughter had bought the Long Island home that was owned by the uncle of Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Halpern, who is one of the prosecutors in the case against Michael and Wilkes. The uncle died in 2003, and the home was bought from his estate.

Granger had argued this was a conflict and that the entire U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego should be removed from the case, or that Halpern should be banned from it.

Now clearly, Granger is just throwing absolutely everything against the wall and hoping something will stick.  Obviously, Carol Lam has already been removed for actually enforcing the law, and removing what remains of the office seems rather silly.  But it drags things out and muddies the waters.

The next date to watch for is October 2 when the Brent Wilkes trial kicks off.  Prosecutors say that Kontogiannis will “probably not” be called to testify if the case goes well, but he’s presumed to be cooperating with government lawyers.  Many twists and turns still to come on this one, and if Duke Cunningham (R-Tuscon Federal Correction Insitution)’s jailhouse confession is any sort of teaser, we’re in for quite a ride.

Cunningham’s Jailhouse Confession is Bad News For Wilkes

Copley News Service has gotten hold of Duke Cunningham’s (R-Tucson Federal Correctional Institution) jailhouse FBI interview (pdf) and let’s just say that Brent Wilkes is gonna have a rough go of things as a result of this:

“Cunningham said that there was never a sale,” said the FBI report. “Cunningham stated that he and Wilkes created the cover story of a boat sale to explain, if anyone ever found out and asked, his receipt of $100,000 from Wilkes.” Cunningham told investigators that Wilkes fully understood that there would be “no actual change in ownership” of the yacht. The two men agreed to divide the $100,000 into two checks because both “felt that the smaller checks might be less noticeable.”

The documents show that Cunningham had first asked Wilkes for $550,000.

“Wilkes said no to the $550,000 but then countered with an offer of $100,000 if Cunningham would ensure that the support and earmarks would continue to happen. Cunningham promised Wilkes that he would ‘fight like hell’ for Wilkes/ADCS.”

But it doesn’t end there.  The 11-page report details how Duke Cunningham put himself up for sale and loved the swanky lifestyle it afforded him.  His interview sheds more light on the illicit affairs of several of Duke’s other partners in crime, including Mitchell Wade of MZM (guilty plea, awaiting sentence) and launderer Thomas Kontogiannis (guilty plea recently released), neither of whom was gonna get off, but both of which will probably find the water a bit warmer as a result of Duke’s interview.  It’s almost enough to make you wish that San Diego had a tenacious US Attorney commited to rooting out corruption in government huh?  Small solace that it may be, it looks like the rocks tipped over by Carol Lam are still rolling downhill.

Copley’s done a great job of culling through the FBI report and the related Hattier affadavit (big pdf) to pull out the high points in a list at the end of this article, and I recommend you go through the whole list.  But I couldn’t resist pulling out a few of my favorites (all quoted):

– The Rolls Royce that drew so much attention early in the investigation was not the only car that Cunningham made the contractors buy for him. In only two days in early 2002, the congressman bought a $43,000 Thunderbird and a $41,000 BMW from Bob Baker Ford in San Diego with $63,000 of his payment coming from bribes. That was three months before Wade gave him $10,000 toward the used Rolls Royce.

– In mid-2004 when Cunningham needed to make repairs to his boat, he called Wade and demanded $6,500 cash. Wade took the money out of his petty cash, stuffed the cash into a bulging envelope and rushed it over to a Cunningham fundraiser at a Washington restaurant, giving it to a Cunningham staffer.

– Made Wilkes buy Cunningham’s daughter a computer when she went to college and then pay for its later repair.

– Made either Wilkes or Wade pay his way to the 2003 Super Bowl, Jimmy Buffet concerts in Chula Vista, and several Washington Wizards and Redskins games.

And in case anyone’s curious, FCI Tucson is hiring.

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.











Jerry McNerney (CA-11) $
Charlie Brown (CA-04) $
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Congressman Doolittle wants to Listen (cross-post from Dailykos)

(Listening tour details! – promoted by blogswarm)

Perhaps one of the nation’s most corrupt political players currently representing us in Congress, Republican John T. Doolittle has made sleaziness an art form. During this last election, Congressman Doolittle did everything short of throwing a kitchen sink at Democratic challenger Charlie Brown: from calling him an “extremist” to trying to tie him to NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association for those of you not in the know) to sending out a campaign flyer insinuating Charlie was a Nazi sympathizer. Every accusation was completely unfounded and had the obvious stench of Rovian tactics, but somehow November 7th led to a very narrow victory for the Mormon Republican.

Now that the election is over, and Doolittle realizes the political reality that a majority of his constituents voted for someone other than him, talk is in the air that change is on its way. More below the fold…

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This last week, Congressman Doolittle’s office released a franked mailer explaining Congressman Doolittle’s new desire to reach out to his constituents. Susan Crabtree of The Hill reported this last week that Doolittle is ready to take steps to get in touch with the voters who nearly threw him out in November. With all of his grand talk of “coming home, listening, reaching out,” you’d think that maybe this is one of those instances when the people have collectively sent a message to their congressman that had actually been received. This is unfortunately not true.

In love with himself and the money he and his wife rake in from campaign donations (not to mention special interests and lobbying groups), Doolittle was recently defending indicted defense contractor Brent Wilkes. “I’ve always said I don’t believe Brent Wilkes could be involved in something like this,” Doolittle said. “The behavior they’ve alleged about Brent Wilkes is inconsistent with everything I know about the man. I’ll be shocked if it turns out differently.” Brent Wilkes contributed over $52,000 to Doolittle’s Superior California Federal Leadership PAC as well as his re-election campaigns, and Wilkes’ private jet was used fly disgraced ex-Congressman Tom DeLay to a Las Vegas fundraiser for Congressman Doolittle. In exchange, Doolittle had helped push legislation to get Wilkes defense company PerfectWave a $37 million contract with the Pentagon that was not needed nor wanted according to Pentagon officials.

These statements are similar to the ones mentioning imprisoned congressional briber Jack Abramoff. On multiple occasions, Doolittle has called Jack Abramoff a “close personal friend,” and that he had “no clue” that the jailed lobbyist was up to shady business in the Mariana Islands and elsewhere. Doolittle received over $14,000 in contributions from Abramoff in what appears to be a scheme to stop labor and immigration reform in the Mariana Islands, and to this date he has yet to return or donate any of the money. As many of you know by now, the Mariana Islands saw horrible human rights abuses from the garment factory sweatshops owned by the Willie Tan Family, represented in Washington by Jack Abramoff. Sex slavery, cramped working conditions, sub-minimum wages and forced abortions have plagued the islands in the 10+ years Abramoff influenced the Republican majority, and change is only just now beginning to happen on those small islands under US protectorate. (here’s a link to a great piece on the subject)

So now Congressman Doolittle has plans to reach out to the 4th Congressional District in Northern California. He is holding six “listening sessions,” although it is not clear whether these are actual town-hall-styled meetings or simply informational reports to the public. It is also unclear as to whether Congressman Doolittle will even be present at all or any of the sessions, as his flyer states

“You views are important-please share them with the congressman and his staff at one of the following listening sessions.”

The Congressman is talking a big game, and his efforts are not brave or noble: they are the bare minimum requirements a congressman should be doing. All of our representatives should come back to visit the district as often as possible (and it would be even better if they resided in the district). There should be satellite offices throughout the district: one is not enough for a district that has over nine counties and covers over 100,000 square miles.

Luckily, we have a chance to demand more of Congressman Doolittle and his staff. Regardless of whether these meeting will allow questions, we must take the initiative to stack these meetings with people who want real answers to the problems that face this nation and this district. We want answers to questions like:

– Are you still in favor of constructing the Auburn Dam, even though your $1 million Army Corps of Engineers report said that the Dam could cost more than $10 billion to construct and structural integrity cannot be guaranteed?
– Will you return the money from Jack Abramoff?
– Do you still believe that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as stated in your debate with Charlie Brown?
– Why didn’t you vote for HR 2, the bill that will increase the minimum wage for working Americans?
– Why did you vote No on HR 3, the bill allowing stem cell research?
– Why did you vote No on HR 4, the bill that brings down prescription drug prices for seniors?
– Why did you vote No on HR 6, the “Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act,” when you claim to be in favor of alternative fuel research (including hydrogen development)?

If you are interested in attending the February Doolittle Listening Tour, the dates and locations are as follows:

Tuesday Feb. 20: Susanville 10-11am
  Lassen County Fairgrounds
  Commercial Building
  195 Russell Avenue
  Susanville, CA 96130

  Quincy 5-6pm
  Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds
  Tulsa E. Scott Building
  204 Fairgrounds Road
  Quincy, CA 95971

Wednesday, Feb. 21: Placerville 2-3pm
  El Dorado County Fairgrounds
  Marshall Building
  100 Placerville Road
  Placerville, CA 95667

  Orangevale 6-7pm
  Orangevale Community Center
  6826 Hazel Avenue
  Orangevale, CA 95662

Thursday, Feb 22:  Grass Valley 4-5pm
  Nevada County Fairgrounds
  Northern Mines Building
  11228 McCourtney Road
  Grass Valley, CA 95949

Friday, Feb. 23: Auburn 2-3pm
  Gold Country Fairgrounds
  Sierra Building
  1273 High Street
  Auburn, CA 95603

Gather a group of friends if you live in the Northern California- vicinity. If you live anywhere within driving distance, this is an opportunity to show Congressman Doolittle that he needs to truly listen to his constituents instead of paying them lip-service. If you are interested in attending one of these events, email me at [email protected] and we will get groups together to carpool!

Carol Lam Should be Retained in Corruption Case

On Monday, McClatchy’s Marisa Taylor reported that San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam had been removed by the Bush Justice Department despite a positive job performance review:

Lam, another U.S. attorney who was told to resign, was described in her 2005 evaluation as “well respected” by law enforcement officials, judges and her staff. Overall, the review was positive, according to another Justice Department official who has seen the evaluation.

“We’re not aware of any significant issues, ” said the official, who also asked not to be identified. Lam is leaving office Feb 15.

Now, House Democrats are demanding Lam preside over the California Republican corruption case as outside counsel. In the Senate, Chuck Schumer has vowed to get to the bottom of the purge (video here).

In short, it appears that the non-political players in the Justice Department thought Lam was doing a good job. But the accused declared:

There’s no need to remind the San Diego community that these are the same prosecutors routinely accused of prosecutorial misconduct. The office has been led by a dismissed U.S. Attorney who has shown bad judgment, has previously pursued vendettas, and has set the tone at the top of an organization accused of witness tampering and manufacturing evidence. It is no accident, nor is it a surprise, that the indictments were rushed to the press 48 hours before her forced departure.

It appears that there are pursued vendettas, but unlike as Wilkes says, the target was those who had the gall to investigate corrupt Republicans and the vendettas were pursued by those at the top of the Bush Administration.

This has cover-up written all over it. Of course, one can easily see why the Bush Administration would want to cover-up a bribery, corruption, and war profiteering scandal that involved hookers, yachts, and multiple California Republicans.

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;