February 09, 2008

Bent Wilkes, the Most Innocent Man on Earth: Matt Janovic

Brent Wilkes, the Most Innocent Man on Earth, by Matt Janovic

San Diego, California/Washington D.C.--Brent Wilkes didn't do anything wrong. Ignore the October conviction for money laundering and bribery of a public official. According to him, his former ADCS never attempted to bribe congressmen with gifts, money, more gifts, a boat, a couple mortgage payments, throwing poker games for Randy Cunningham at poker (while letting him win, a bribe)...and women. Well, at least that's what the convicted briber, government contractor, de facto lobbyist, and pimp has to say these days. Pimp? Yes, pimp. A pimp would wear a camo-tux, wouldn't they?

For reasons known only to government prosecutors (and perhaps the White House), they decided to isolate all evidence and testimony of Brent Wilkes's soliciting prostitutes-for-government contracts to the Hawaii jaunt of the former GOP Representative Randy Cunningham. Was this part of the reason for the firing of those bothersome U.S. Attorneys, namely like Carol Lam and David Iglesias?

Yet, we still see periodic stories on Shirlington Limousine and Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter's efforts to get an investigation
going into Shirlington's contracts with the scandal-ridden Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. All of her efforts have stalled. Why is that? Why does a convicted felon with a 60-plus page rap sheet get first-dibs on contracts with DHS, and why then does Congress rate it as unimportant with no real action to discover what really happened? Because many of them already know what happened. The not to investigate would be because it's of great importance, so why not schedule hearings on steroids in the major leagues?

Surely, Brent R. Wilkes and his wordy attorney Mark Geragos can convince the court and federal probation officials that he's innocent after receiving a fair trial? No, I didn't think so either. But what do you do when your client is caught, cold, hard busted and politicians (yes, plural) are also part of the game? You rely on semantics, word-games, and the predictable technicality that won't go anywhere to buy a little time. San Diego Union-Tribune journalist Greg Moran noted:

Geragos took issue with those claims in a broad legal attack. In recent years the U.S. Supreme Court has said judges can't impose a sentence based on any factors that were not found to be true, beyond a reasonable doubt, by a jury. The court has ruled that would be a violation of the fair trial rights of defendants. In Wilkes' case, Geragos argued that the factors cited by probation officials as reason to increase the sentence were not found to be true by a jury. For example, he said there was no jury finding that Cunningham was an elected official. (Signs on San Diego.com, 02.09.2008)

Eventually comes the mandatory quibbling over the meaning of words--we understand where Geragos is trying to take this. Into overtime. Wilkes and his attorney have contended since the beginning that the Poway contractor never did anything differently from all the other lobbyists and contractors. On this, we can take Wilkes at his word.

And what of the "cigar parties" at the Watergate (the GOP appears to have a fetish for this building, trying to get things right the second time) and the Westin hotels? We know that there were "women present," that some congressmen went off to rooms with them, but most-of-all, we know who brought these women there: Christopher D. Baker, CEO of Shirlington Limousine. From the early-1990s until Cunningham, Wilkes, Mitchell Wade, Thomas Kontogiannis, and the other "co-conspirators" were nabbed by federal investigators, Baker's Shirlington Limousine was ferrying them there. It's like that they were ferried to other locations, as Wade has discussed that Cunningham was frequently calling Wilkes for companionship. Shirlington was also involved in some of these acts of soliciting.

What's so fantastical about these recent legal moves is the fact that Wilkes had been caught red-handed lying about his alleged "poverty" during his trial. For these claims, he was given federal defense funds for his legal costs, costs that federal prosecutors now want him to pay back in-full. Will Brent Wilkes start talking? For real? This 36-page filing by Geragos is worthless, just a response to the sentencing and the fact that Wilkes was caught lying about yet another thing.
Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes came under scrutiny after federal prosecutors cried foul last week, filing court documents claiming Wilkes has more money than he has let on in court.

They asked U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns to force Wilkes to retain private counsel and pay back the costs of the public defense attorneys representing him."The use of public funds while the defendant continues to spend his ill-gotten gains must stop," prosecutors wrote in a motion filed in federal court last week. Prosecutors argue that Wilkes had access to more than $1 million in assets, which he used to pay bills, including mortgages and divorce attorneys. (North County Times, 02.05.2005)
As of this writing, Wilkes is still receiving federal defense funds. Somehow, we're supposed to ignore all that and trust him now. Never mind that he's had his time in the courts. If he really wanted to contest that his trial was unfair, why not point-out that he subpoenaed 13 members of Congress, which the prosecution successfully quashed? To open that door is to take a bigger gamble than the poker games at the Watergate and the Westin. Interestingly, one of the money-laundering "co-conspirators" by the name of John Thomas Michael (nephew to co-defendant and possible CIA financial/banking-asset Thomas Kontogiannis) has changed his plea to "guilty" the very same day that the prosecutors attacked Wilkes over lying about hiding money from them.

The stakes couldn't be higher. And there's more-to-come: Wilkes has upcoming charges in the trial of the former #3 man at the CIA, Kyle Dustin Foggo, his old childhood friend. The charge is bribery, but why isn't it for soliciting prostitution? Foggo is denying all connections to Shirlington Limo and the escorts. One can imagine why.

TPMuckraker on lying, thieving Brent R. Wilkes, February 5th, 2008:

That wascally Bwent Wilkes and his vow of poverty (Mitchell Wade looks like Azar's Big Boy):


Signs on San Diego today: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080209-9999-1m9wilkes.html

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