Brent Wilkes “The Leader of a Criminal Enterprise”

Duke Cunningham, who is none too bright, is looking pretty smart for pleading guilty and taking his eight year sentence for accepting bribes. Compared to the sixty years the Probation Office has recommended for Brent Wilkes, after all, those eight years look like child’s play (h/t chrisc).

Federal probation officials are recommending that Brent Wilkes, the Poway defense contractor who was convicted of bribing former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, should be sentenced to 60 years in prison, according to court records.

Apparently, the Probation Office calculated that everything Brent Wilkes’ company did for the government was criminal.

The specific reasons behind the probation recommendation are not known, because the reports are not publicly available. However, in a court filing last week, Geragos referred to sections of the report and his objections to them.


The lawyer said he would challenge that calculation. In an interview he said probation officials appeared to have totaled up all the federal work ADCS got from the government and attributed all of it to criminal behavior.


Geragos also said in the court filing that probation officials said Wilkes’ sentence should be increased because he was an organizer or leader of a criminal enterprise.

I’m not much interested in Wilkes’ sentence–I’d just like them to get started with the Dusty Foggo side of the case. But I am interested in how this sentence (assuming Judge Burns gives Wilkes anything close to that) affects all the other bribe-givers and -takers’ behavior. You think maybe this will get John Dootlittle’s or William Jefferson’s attention? You think this will get the attention of all the Bush cronies who are still actively bribing Congressmen to get contracts?

32 replies
    • rapt says:

      Looks to me like the Choate guy Shanahan was sucked into inviting Rove based on rove’s credentials, “former senior admin official, a biggie with some stars on his chest”. Not a Choate diploma but hey this fella is big so we can forgive him for being a poor country Texas boy.

      Prep schools – makes ya wonder don’t it.

  1. BlueStateRedHead says:

    Oh oh! Mark is also defending Nathaline who died from an insurance refusal of a heart plant–I am wondering if there’s an Armenian connection as he does pro buono/low cost work for members of his community.

    we want him to win there, I presume. not all his client are slime balls. and they have the right to rep.

    on the slime ball front ck out the story on rudivengance on the front page of the nyt or talk left.
    gotta go.

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s not a question of Gergos being a slimeball. It’s a question of whether he puts sound law over grandstanding. I’m not sure Wilkes could have won this case in any case. But Gergos engaged in a series of stunts to try to get the case thrown out, rather than focusing on minimizing Wilkes’ exposure.

      • phred says:

        I’m guessing Wilkes is sitting there thinking, “I paid you HOW MUCH, for THIS?!?!?”. You would think a guy like Wilkes would be smart enough to hire a lawyer who does spend every minute of every day figuring out how to get his mug on TV. Maybe Wilkes isn’t the brightest bulb in the box either.

      • BlueStateRedHead says:

        I said not all his clients are slimeballs not that he was one. In fact, if wiki account is correct, he is very good on working on behalf of his community and he began his career IIRC with a big win against health insurers.

        I guess for Nathaline’s family, we need to hope that he will tweak his m.o. here and not bring them further pain, for the right wingers were slamming them in an odious fashion–let her dies to have a case and make $$ sort of thing.

      • MadDog says:

        Didn’t he do the same type of grandstanding in the Laci Peterson trial for Scott Peterson?

        And with a similar “kiss your ass goodbye forevah” result?

        And I too just can’t wait for Dusty’s day in court. Might be that he pleads out now given Wilke’s pending “long vacation”.

  2. rxbusa says:

    Hmmm. I wonder if this will have any effect/connections/sequelae on the email investigation (See Rayne @101 on the Plame email investigation thread).

  3. chrisc says:

    I’m not exactly sure how the sentencing guidelines work. Wilkes never admitted guilt. Did he get more time tacked on for that? For comparison, Abramoff got what- something like 10 yrs? So, whether intentionally sent or not, the message seems to be: Unless you are Scooter Libby, if they have the goods on you, plead guilty and spill the beans on someone else.

    John T. Michael got it. He has now changed his plea.
    But what about his Tommy? They guy seems to have disappeared. Last I heard Judge Burns arrested him and posted a guard in his hospital room. Since then, Tommy K’s atty says he is too sick to come to his sentencing.
    Last week, Tommy K pulled another trick out of his bag- he changed his San Diego Atty. Delay, delay, delay. Is this guy going to escape the slammer?

  4. Neil says:

    You think maybe this will get John Dootlittle’s or William Jefferson’s attention? You think this will get the attention of all the Bush cronies who are still actively bribing Congressmen to get contracts?

    That’s the theory behind stiff sentences. Fitz talked about the value of prosecuting Chicago gang leaders for weapons charges and getting stiff sentences as an effective way to get gun-totting gang members to leave the weapons in their gun lockers. It’s lethal force that causes the worst collateral damage.

    We’ve had a spate of gang shootings and murders in Boston (Roslindale and Roxbury really) mostly 12 to 22 year old black men from gangs shooting and killing each other – through a bedroom window, in a Chinese restaurant, on a street corner in an ambush after a gang member’s funeral, etc etc. The city responded by arresting all gang members with outstanding warrants. While that may be an effective intervention for the moment, it won’t change the motivations and the result in the long run. No Boston needs to put the gang leaders away for a long time on weapons charges. then maybe the gang related gun violence will subside.

    Back to the Republicans, give Wilkes 50 with no parole that ought to do it.

  5. TomJ says:

    Simply recommending 60 years may have an effect. Nobody can bank on their judge reducing the recommendation, and even if cut in half or a quarter, that is like, a really long time for old dudes.

  6. Loo Hoo. says:

    MIAMI (AP) — Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with al-Qaida to blow up a radioactive “dirty bomb,” was sentenced Tuesday to 17 years and four months on terrorism conspiracy charges that don’t mention those initial allegations.

  7. 4jkb4ia says:

    I was mildly shocked that a high school could get such high-profile commencement speakers every year. It shows that the students can expect to be close to power.

  8. obsessed says:

    1) Geragos’ track record leaves something to be desired.

    2) Is it too late for Wilkes to start squealing in return for leniency?

    3) Is Foggo still determined to go through with his trial?

    • emptywheel says:

      Foggo is, yes. He’s being represented by Akin Gump, so he will presumably have the best that money can buy. They’re still arguing whether it will be in ED VA or in SoCal, though.

      • emptywheel says:

        And keep in mind, Wilkes is supposed to go on trial in that along with Foggo. In that trial, he’s got a public defender, already having made sure his wife got all his money and spent the leftover on Geragos. So maybe Wilkes will decide to start squealing in THAT case.

        • freepatriot says:

          he’s got a public defender,

          well, if you was gonna sell somebody up-river, why bother to spend money for the guy who does the deal ???

          public defenders got lots of experience in pleading guilty

          they’re real good at it

          still, wilkes is better off with a DPD

          geragos sucks REAL bad

          can’t understand why the nutjobs keep hiring this clown

          • bmaz says:

            Oh no Freep; these are Federal Public Defenders, and they are very good. Last I looked, they were doing a quality job considering what little they had to work with.

            • Neil says:

              I have a friend from college who’s a Federal Public Defender in Seattle, used to be Denver. I dunno for sure but I bet she’s excellent… doesn’t let me get away with anything.

                • Neil says:

                  yeah some people, not her, not you. i got together two years ago with her and others from ‘85. we were a motley crew from south college in the day. she gave me a rash of shyte about something that happened twenty years ago. wouldn’t let it go.

    • MadDog says:

      2) Is it too late for Wilkes to start squealing in return for leniency?

      I think that generally, it is never too late. And I’d not put it past the prosecutors, to let Brent get a real good taste of prison life before waving a leniency treat before him.

      Some say prison life hardens folks, others say it softens ‘em up for the plucking.

  9. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    Would be nice if this kinda woke up the Telecom lobbyists in their never-ending quest to get their masters exonerated… There needs to be a big yellow line across the front of Jello Jay and Harry’s doorways marked ‘cross at your own 60 year risk’.

  10. bmaz says:

    BSRH @5 – Nataline parents, the Sarkisyans, need to get an experienced and respected medical malpractice attorney; which is not Mark Geragos, irrespective of his somewhat questionable record of results in high profile criminal cases.

    Chrisc @10 – Yes there is an automatic enhancement for failure to accept responsibility built into the Guidelines. I have said all along that there is some very weird symbiotic collusion going on with the Feds and TommyK; really, that is incontrovertible at this point. He may end up in a Club Fed, or he may well end up pissing away time while this mess continues to sort out (as he has been doing and that does NOT happen without it being the direct product of the Fed’s desires) and then dropping off the face of the earth with no fanfare; neither would surprise me. Michaels pled out?? Did I know that and forget, or did I not know that? Either way, specifics pretty please!

    Obsessed @19 – 1) Ahem; yeah. 2) Not too late for Wilkes to roll as long as he has not been sentenced. Not impossible, but very difficult after sentencing for a lot of procedural reasons and presumptions. 3) With any luck we will soon see about Foggo.

    Neil – The girls give you all the breaks…..

  11. chrisc says:

    from the SDUT article

    In a related matter, the judge set a Feb. 4 hearing for a change of plea for John Michael. He is a New York mortgage broker who was indicted with Wilkes on obstruction of justice and other charges. The order did not say what Michael will be pleading guilty to, and his lawyer declined to comment.


    from TPM

    Michael was scheduled for to begin trial on September 18th. However, his trial date was moved after he was hospitalized for illness. His jury trial, set for January 29, 2008, was postponed because Michael intends to change his plea.

    I don’t think you saw it anywhere and forgot about it bmaz. TPM quietly put it in their reference section and the blurb in the SDUT article is the only other reference I know of.

    As to TommyK, I am really struck by the similarities of his case and that of Arnold Saltzman who also pleaded guilty and never ever showed up to his sentencing hearings until they faded away under the cloak of secrecy. There are several weird coincidences besides the fact that Tommy K and Saltzman live in the same neck of the woods and share the same lawyer. Both were supposedly too sick to show up to their sentencing, and they share a penchant for fraud, shmoozing with influential politicians and entrepreneurial enterprises in what was formerly USSR.

    • bmaz says:

      Heh Yep Saltzman is interesting case. There are any number of ways for things to dribble off the face of the earth; I would certainly not be shocked if that happened with TK; wouldn’t be surprise if he actually went to Club Fed for a while and then was early released; who knows. You almost have to believe something weird will result …

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