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October 08, 2006

Jailed Duke Cunningham: "I hurt more than anyone could imagine"

Jailed former congressman Duke Cunningham writes a poor, pitiful Duke letter from federal prison:

WASHINGTON--In a handwritten letter to the reporter who exposed his corruption, former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham portrays life in prison as an agonizing time of regret, anger and bitterness toward those he blames for his downfall.

"I hurt more than anyone could imagine,” Cunningham wrote from federal prison in North Carolina.

In the letter, the former Rancho Santa Fe Republican lashes out at the The San Diego Union-Tribune, which broke the story on June 12, 2005, but aims his sharpest barbs at one of his co-conspirators.

Cunningham, 64, has been housed in the low-security section of the Butner Federal Correctional Complex since shortly after being sentenced March 3 to eight years and four months in prison. Cunningham pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy and tax evasion charges and admitted accepting more than $2.4 million in bribes in return for helping defense contractors secure federal business.

His comments came in a letter to Marcus Stern, the Copley News Service reporter who uncovered the tainted 2003 sale of Cunningham's Del Mar-area home to defense contractor Mitchell Wade. Cunningham applied proceeds of the sale toward purchase of a $2.55 million mansion in Rancho Santa Fe. Wade bought the Del Mar-area home for $1.675 million and sold it eight months later at a $700,000 loss.

Needless to say, Cunningham blames his former best friend, Mitchell Wade for giving him all those bribes:

If there was any doubt that his long friendship with Wade is over, Cunningham uses the letter to dispel it, blasting the man who provided so many of the bribes uncovered during the federal investigation.

“Wade is the absolute devil and his lawyer is trying to save his donkey,” wrote Cunningham, reflecting his bitterness at what Wade has been telling federal investigators and the U.S. Attorney's Office. “I should have said no to the gifts. For that, I am truly sorry.”

Noting that he “cannot discuss the case,” Cunningham nonetheless said that “90 percent” of the case against him came from Wade, downplaying the role of another of his alleged co-conspirators, Brent Wilkes, founder of Poway-based ADCS Inc.

I think we're going to give the Sunday Sermonette to the Duke-stir:

“I hurt more than anyone could imagine and without my faith your constant cruelty would destroy me,” he wrote.

Cunningham cited his religious faith again when he wrote, “The Lord's Prayer forgive me my debts as I would forgive. My first sin each night is the failure to forgive the U.T. Not just coverage but the brutal two and three pages each week that has nearly destroyed me and my family.”

He warned that the “truth will come out and you will find out how liablest [libelous] you have & will be.”

View the .pdf of Duke Cunningham's letter.


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Cry me a River.

Needless to say, Cunningham blames his former best friend, Wade Cunningham for giving him all those bribes

I think this is a typo, Lindsay. As you point out elsewhere in the post, Duke Cunningham's co-conspirator was Mitchell Wade. Wade Cunningham is a race car driver from New Zealand.

Good. You are supposed to hurt more than anyone can impagine...except for maybe people who lose their loved-ones...say in Iraq...

What an idiot.

I'm not sure what's more sad; the fact that he still doesn't own his shit, or the fact that a guy the Republicans put in charge of so much money and power is so clearly such an ignoramus.

paperwight, I'm going for C, man so lost to post-TR modern Republican Calvinism that it never actually occurred to him to question whether something that put money in his pocket wasn't a symbol of his own great virtue, even if it meant selling the armed services out.

I'm sure he is every bit as miserable as he says. Seriously. No matter who you are, what you've done or where you're incarcerated, prison is a hellish experience at best.

And yet, it's impossible to extend any sympathy to someone who--in prototypical Republican fashion--not only refuses to take the least responsibility for the actions that put him there, but who clearly has never extended his own sympathy to anyone but himself.

May he be the first of many.

Cunningham's letter is heart wrenching in its own way. I think the letter serves as a vivid object lesson about why the unexamined life sucks.

Cunningham is so self-centered that he can't even conceive of his problems clearly. It's probably a lot more painful to be in this confused limbo than to be genuinely remorseful for your actions. Cunningham seems vaguely aware that he did something wrong, but he can't reconcile that knowledge with his own overwhelming sense of persecution.

I felt really bad for Duke when he talked about his former best friend Mitchell Wade (thanks for spotting the typo, parse). If Cunningham could come to terms with his own responsibility for his crimes, he might not feel that his best friend had betrayed him. A more mature person might say, "Mitchell and I were best friends, we broke the law together, and now we're busted." But Cunningham can't do that. So he's convinced himself that his best friend victimized him. I bet it's way more painful to believe that your best friend of 16 years was never really your friend than to accept that you took bribes.

What Molly said. Culture of responsibility, indeed.

And he's in a low-security joint. It would be interesting if these law-and-order types became more interested in the treatement of prisoners.

(Fishbane, we should definitely meet for a drink sometime. I lost track of that comment and wasn't sure how to email you.)

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