Thursday, October 4, 2007

Jury Selection Begins for Defense Contractor Accused of Bribing Duke Cunningham

Jury selection began for the trial of defense contractor Brent Wilkes, who is accused of giving former California Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham over $600,000 in bribes and other benefits in exchange for the award of no-bid contracts.  Wilkes had earlier subpoenaed twelve Representatives to testify at trial, which drew a motion to quash from the counsel to the House of Representatives (see earlier post here).  The subpoenas have been withdrawn, but new ones may be issued to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and four California Congressmen, Duncan Hunter, Jerry Lewis, John Doolittle and Darrell Issa, who allegedly were present on trips with Cunningham.  According to a story in The Hill (here), U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said he would enforce subpoenas to Representatives only if they have information relevant to the defense.  Any new subpoenas will probably trigger another motion to quash from the House counsel, who earlier asserted an absolute privilege under the Speech or Debate Clause that prevents members of Congress from testifying -- it's not clear whether such a broad assertion of the constitutional protection will fly. (ph)

Corruption, Prosecutions | Permalink

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