Key Hill Corruption Figure Still Dishing Dirt
A central character in one of Washington's seediest congressional corruption capers is likely to stay out of jail for several more months because he's cooperating with the feds and coughing up juicy details about others implicated in the scandal, insiders tell U.S. News.
Washington defense contractor Mitchell Wade pleaded guilty last February to paying then California Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham more than $1 million in bribes. But he actually began cooperating with federal prosecutors starting in the summer of 2005, and he has been singing like a bird ever since, according to law enforcement sources.
This has resulted in his sentencing being put off while he continues to cooperate in the massive ongoing federal investigation into the multimillion-dollar bribery and corruption scandal. The investigation has already landed Cunningham in the slammer for eight years, and more indictments are likely this year. Wade is scheduled to have a status hearing in federal court in Washington on March 12, but sources tell U.S. News that the feds will seek another status hearing date, probably six months down the road. This would be the second continuance of Wade's status hearing.
Wade made $150 million from government contracts beginning in 2002, thanks in large part due to Cunningham's willingness, in exchange for lucrative bribes, to insert "earmarks" in defense appropriations bills, benefiting Wade and his company, MZM Inc.
Federal prosecutors say Cunningham earmarked the funds in a manner so brazen as to make it "unparalleled" in the history of congressional corruption.