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US House lawyers move to quash subpoenas in Cunningham bribery case

[JURIST] Lawyers representing twelve members of the US House of Representatives [official website] who were subpoenaed last month in the criminal trial of a defense contractor charged with bribing former US Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham [official profile] filed motions in the Southern District of California [official website] Wednesday seeking to have the subpoenas quashed. Lawyers for Brent Wilkes [Newsweek profile], who is facing up to 20 years in prison on charges of bribery, fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy, are seeking information on congressional "earmarks" that Cunningham requested for Wilkes, and wish to view internal house documents related to defense appropriations. The subpoenaed congress members have said they will not comply with the orders, because according to House Rules [text], sitting House members may only comply with subpoenas when their testimony could be "material and relevant." In addition, their lawyers have argued that members of Congress are not required to disclose communications related to their official duties.

The subpoenas were served on August 13th, however they were only disclosed to the public last week [JURIST report], when the served members announced into the congressional record [floor summary] their intent to not comply. The served members are:

  • Roy Blunt (R-MO), House Republican Whip;
  • Norm Dicks (D-WA), House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee Chairman;
  • John Doolittle (R-CA);
  • Dennis Hastert (R-IL), former House Speaker;
  • Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), former House Intelligence Committee Chairman;
  • Duncan Hunter (R-CA), former Armed Services Committee Chairman;
  • Darrell Issa (R-CA);
  • Joe Kollenberg (R-MI), former House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee Chairman;
  • Jerry Lewis (R-CA), former Appropriations Committee Chairman;
  • John Murtha (D-PA), House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman;
  • Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), House Intelligence Committee Chairman; and
  • Jerry Weller (R-IL).
A final subpoena, served to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) was withdrawn following its disclosure into the public record. AP has more.

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