Dec. 15, 2008— -- A former defense contractor who pleaded guilty to giving a California congressman more than $1.8 million in bribes in exchange for government contracts was sentenced in a federal court in Washington today to 30 months behind bars.
Mitchell Wade, whose cooperation with prosecutors helped jail the lawmaker, ex-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, was also fined $250,400 and will be on supervised release for 36 months after his release from jail. He is also required to complete 100 hours of community service in the first year after his release, ordered U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina.
In 2006 Wade pleaded guilty to four counts of bribery and election fraud, charges stemming from what prosecutor Howard Sklamberg called Monday "a horrible, disgusting spree of corruption." In exchange for his bribes to Cunningham, Wade's defense company, MZM Inc, received $150 million in government contracts between 2002 and 2005.
Prosecutors had asked Judge Urbina to go easy on Wade because of his extensive and early cooperation with the government.
They argued that Wade's cooperation was crucial to winning a speedy confession from Cunningham, who is now serving a more than eight-year sentence for the scandal. Wade was also the central witness in the corruption trial of another defense contractor connected with Cunningham, Brent Wilkes, who was sentenced this year to 12 years.