Despite the lucrative deals that Wade said he and Wilkes got from Cunningham, the two contractors did not hold the legislator and war hero in high regard. They considered him to be âof below-average intelligence,â Wade said.
The expensive dinners also became a bit of a chore, he testified.
âWe would dread having dinner with (Cunningham) and having to listen to him repeat the same jokes,â Wade said.
But it was worth it: "Wade insinuated himself so close to Cunningham that, he testified, he kept a stack of blank stationery with Cunningham's letterhead in his MZM office. He would use it to write letters and memos that Cunningham dutifully signed." Of course, Cunningham being a little slow on his feet, Wade had to "spell out for Duke exactly what he had to say" when Wade needed him to lean on Pentagon officials who weren't following through on contracts Cunningham had earmarked.
As an answer to that testimony, Wilkes' lawyer Mark Geragos reminded jurors that Wade was angling for a better sentence by admitting to the bribery. And he tried to draw a distinction between Wade and Wilkes by having Wade admit that Wilkes didn't know about Wade's gifts to Cunningham. He was also at pains to show that Wade supplanted Wilkes as Cunningham's favorite.
It's clear that the story Geragos wants jurors to believe is that Wilkes just played the game the way it's always played in Washington -- and Wade, that "absolute devil," took it way too far. I remain curious of how Geragos plans to demonstrate that Wilkes' courtship of Cunningham was business as usual in the capital.