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Bush asked to cut Cunningham's sentence

Nov. 2, 2008 at 8:03 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Disgraced former U.S. Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham deserves to have his federal prison sentence commuted by President George Bush, supporters contend.

The San Diego Republican was sentenced in 2006 to eight years and four months in prison for conspiracy and tax evasion. He asked Bush in December to commute his sentence before the next president takes office, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday.

Although the U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney will not make public Cunningham's clemency request, the department has released copies of eight letters urging Bush to help the 66-year-old Cunningham, who has prostate cancer.

Letters have been written from Point Loma, Calif., New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri. The letters, which were disclosed under the federal Freedom of Information Act, had their authors' names blacked out. The letters generally point to Cunningham's service as a Navy fighter pilot during the Vietnam War.

In all, Bush has received 9,771 requests for pardons or commutations while in office. He has granted just 163.

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