Jeff Smith 7 a.m., March 30
Feds Thrash Wilkes's Plea for New Trial
The U.S. Attorney's office today (Jan. 5) answered Poway contractor Brent Wilkes's motion for a new trial for his role in the scandal that put former Congressman Randy (Duke) Cunningham in prison. Wilkes was convicted in 2007 of money laundering, wire fraud, conspiracy, and bribery for his dealings with Cunningham. Wilkes was sentenced to 12 years but remains free as he appeals his conviction. The government uses colorful language in its negative response to Wilkes's bid for a new trial: "The sun is shining. The Chargers are talking about moving to Los Angeles. The Padres are giving away their best players. And Brent Wilkes and Duke Cunningham are trying to put one over on the rest of us. Yes, life in San Diego is back to normal."
The U.S. attorney's office goes on to point out numerous reasons why Wilkes does not deserve a new trial. One of the main ones: on Nov 23, 2005, "Cunningham signed a plea agreement in which he swore under penalty of perjury to having been bribed by Brent Wilkes" and others. Now Cunningham, whom Wilkes once described as dimwitted and easy to control, is saying he never took bribes from Wilkes. But the U.S. Attorney's office cites a number of specifics, including prostitutes that Wilkes provided to Cunningham in Hawaii. "The majority of Wilkes's motion is based on two recently-signed declarations," says the government, noting that both declarations were false.