Friday, February 24, 2006

Mitchell Wade Pleads Guilty

Cunningham co-conspirator, Mitchell Wade, plead out before a federal judge today. Here are the charges. The San Diego Union Tribune has the summary. Wade's plea suggests that an additional member of congress was involved in the bribery deal and that the conspiracy extended into the Department of Defense.

Wade pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and single counts of using interstate facilities to promote bribery and of election fraud. He faces a possible 11-year prison sentence, and the judge also outlined a formula for what would appear to a huge fine.

In a summary of the prosecution's case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard R. Sklamberg disclosed that Wade made about $80,000 in illegal campaign contributions in 2004 and 2006 to two members of Congress he did not name. The lawmakers were targeted because they had the potential to steer federal contracts to MZM.

Wade apparently tried to skirt federal restrictions on campaign contributions in at least a couple of instances by reimbursing his own employees and their spouses for campaign gifts, the prosecutor said.

Sklamberg also said that Wade had discussions with a Defense Department official Sklamberg did not identify about projects that would benefit his firm.

More to come as Wade and Cunningham continue to cooperate with the feds.