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A federal grand jury has indicted defense contractor Brent Wilkes for allegedly lavishing gifts on top governmental officials, including now-imprisoned former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, to procure big-money defense contracts. Also indicted was Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, Wilkes’ childhood friend, for allegedly using his influence as CIA executive director to steer contracts to the defense contractor.

Wilkes and Foggo are named co-defendants on one indictment, charging that Foggo used his status as a CIA executive to convince other CIA officials to award contracts to Wilkes. Foggo and Wilkes attended Hilltop High in Chula Vista and maintained a lifelong friendship.

In a second indictment, Wilkes is charged with giving more than $700,000 to Cunningham in various trips and campaign donations and with paying off a second mortgage on Cunningham’s Rancho Santa Fe home. Also named in that indictment is a New York mortgage banker, John T. Michael, who, according to the indictment, provided false and misleading testimony to a federal grand jury regarding Wilkes’ role in that mortgage payment.

In a press conference at midday today, U.S. Attorney Carol Lam characterized the indictments:

These two indictments describe patterns of self-dealing and corruption that span 10 years and reach deep into our country’s system of procurement in the defense industry. The allegations in the indictment describe undisclosed personal and financial relationships between government officials and individuals seeking lucrative defense contracts.

Those personal and financial relationships led to benefits totaling thousands, even millions, of dollars being bestowed on government officials, and millions of dollars in defense contracts flowing back in the other direction.

In one of the indictments handed up today, Brent Wilkes is charged with engaging in a pattern of bribery of former Congressman “Duke” Cunningham that was breathtaking in scope.

The indictments include charges of honest services wire fraud, money laundering, unlawful monetary transactions, bribery, and conspiracy to commit those acts.

Lam said she expects the investigation to continue, though she will step down from office Thursday. The defendants are expected to be arraigned before Judge Larry Burns tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m.

KELLY BENNETT

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