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Brent Wilkes facing lengthy prison term

Feb. 17, 2008 at 3:39 PM

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- California defense contractor Brent Wilkes is facing a possible 25-year prison sentence for his conviction on conspiracy, bribery and fraud charges.

Prosecutors in Wilkes' case have asked the court to sentence the 53-year-old contractor to 25 years in prison for netting $46 million through his illicit dealings with former U.S. Rep. Randy Cunningham, R-Calif., the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday.

Wilkes was convicted last November on a number of charges, including repeatedly bribing Cunningham during a 10-year period for government contracts. Cunningham is serving a prison sentence of eight years and four months for his involvement in such illicit dealings.

Prosecutors in Wilkes' federal trial have labeled him as the corrupting force in the scandal, saying in a footnote he was the predator in the "web of corruption."

"There can be little doubt Wilkes was the spider and Cunningham the fly in this web of corruption," the prosecutorial footnote read.

The Union-Tribune said based on that stance, prosecutors have asked the court to make Wilkes' minimum sentence twice that of Cunningham's when his sentencing occurs Tuesday.

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