[JURIST] A federal jury sitting in San Diego Monday convicted former US defense contractor Brent Wilkes of 13 felonies, including money laundering, fraud and conspiracy, in connection with bribes he paid to disgraced former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham [official profile]. Wilkes pleaded not guilty to all charges, but the jury found that he paid more than $600,000 in bribes, including vacations and prostitutes, to Cunningham in exchange for millions of dollars worth of US military contracts. According to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California [official website], many of the contracts awarded to Wilkes provided services that were not needed or computer equipment sold at a substantial markup. Wilkes' sentencing has been scheduled for January 28, 2008, and he faces up to 20 years' imprisonment. Wilkes' lawyer said that he will appeal the verdict.
Wilkes has been under investigation since Cunningham pleaded guilty in 2005 [JURIST report] to taking $2.4 million in bribes in return for federal contracts. Wilkes has maintained his innocence since he was indicted by a grand jury [JURIST report] in February along with former CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo for their involvement in the Cunningham case. Additionally, Wilkes faces trial for charges that he bribed Foggo with gifts and vacations in exchange for CIA contracts. The New York Times has more. The San Diego Union-Tribune has additional coverage.