If there's a burning question that's arisen from Brent Wilkes' trial, it's not whether Wilkes is guilty
. It's: 'Just how stupid is Duke Cunningham?'
According to testimony, Cunningham's (alleged) bribers were in agreement: his stupidity made him an easy mark. Wilkes' former employee testified
that Wilkes told her Duke was "not the brightest congressman up there. We can work with him.â
And Mitchell Wade told jurors
that Wilkes and Wade considered him to be âof below-average intelligence.â So while the unending stream of bribes kept Cunningham willing to do whatever the defense contractors wanted, you couldn't just tell him to go harass Pentagon officials because they weren't paying the bills. Wade said that the lawmaker was so thick that they had to "spell out for Duke exactly what he had to say."
He wasn't kidding. Earlier this week, prosecutors entered into evidence a set of talking points that Wade had prepared for Cunningham in 2004 for a call to a Pentagon official. We've posted a copy here
, courtesy of Seth Hettena
, the author of the recent book on Cunningham, Feasting on The Spoils
, who's been blogging
the trial. In the talking points, Wade made sure Duke's mind wasn't upset by any ambiguity. A sample:
Certainly Wade knew what he was doing. After all, look what happens
when Cunningham is left to his own devices