The prosecution's "own private law firm"

Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., responded today to defense contractor Mitchell Wade’s request for a sentence of a year of home detention for the extraordinary cooperation he provided the government in its investigations of Randy “Duke” Cunningham and many others. Simply put, the government thinks Wade’s good deeds don’t cancel out his bad ones.

Wade, after all, is a man who shelled out $1.8 million in bribes to Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Add in Wade’s corruption of officials in the Defense Department¬† and the election fraud scheme he conceived and led, and you have a conduct that prosecutors think merits four years in prison.

And Wade’s suggestion of a $250,000 fine is “far too low.” MZM Inc., earned $100 million to $150 million in Defense Department contracts from 2002-2005. (See my earlier post below on MZM’s profitability.) Although prosecutors don’t note this, Wade spent $2 million on his legal team at WilmerHale.

“Wade … is still a wealthy man. He has the capacity to pay more and should pay more,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Sklamberg.

Prosecutors from San Diego chime in with their own piece of Wade fan mail. In a letter to the sentencing judge, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Forge says that Wade “transformed” the nascent investigation of Cunningham in 2005. Without his help, convicting the congressman might have taken years, instead of months.

On more than one occasion, several of us observed that the responsiveness and thoroughness of Wade and his legal team made us feel as if we had our own private law firm.

When Wade said Cunningham had written out on his congressional stationery a price list for increasing levels of government contracts, Forge thought it was a great story, but found it hard to believe.¬† Wade’s counsel found the document, which became known as the “bribe menu,” a damning symbol of corruption.

The discovery of this bribe menu marked a high point in our investigation and also marked the last time we would seriously doubt any information Wade provided.

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