Of course, they closed with the hookers.
Two of the prostitutes who serviced Duke Cunningham and Brent Wilkes during their 2003 trip to Hawaii wrapped up
the prosecution's case, and now it's Wilkes' turn. How much of a case he'll put on is entirely unclear. His lawyer Mark Geragos has threatened to call Cunningham himself to testify, but who knows if he'll follow through? It's also unclear whether Geragos will try to get other lawmakers to testify about their relationship with Wilkes -- as part of his defense that his gifts to Cunningham were just the way Washington worked for a defense contractor.
Both of the prostitutes told the same story: Wilkes' nephew brought them into the hotel suite. And from there
"They asked us if we wanted to get naked and get into the Jacuzzi," [Donna] Rozetta said.
"What did you do," prosecutor [Phillip] Halpern asked.
"We got naked and got in the Jacuzzi," Rozetta replied.
The Jacuzzi calls to mind another
hot tub moment in the Cunningham saga.
After Cunningham fed
Rozetta some grapes, there was an argument over who got which hooker. Wilkes, much to Cunningham's dismay, claimed the blond, named Tammy McFadden. Or as McFadden testified, "The one I ended up with was the one who was running the show."
And even though he wasn't paying, Cunningham apparently felt
that he'd "got the short end of the straw." And indeed, Cunningham did ask
for a different prostitute the next night. But Rozetta seems to have been none too impressed with Cunningham herself -- she identified him in the courtroom as the one with "heavy jowls and a puffy face."
But the real star yesterday for prosecutors was Wilkes' nephew Joel Combs, who was Wilkes' right hand man. Combs and Mitchell Wade, Wilkes' onetime colleague and then competitor, really comprise the foundation of the government's case. Earlier this week, Wade detailed
about how all those gifts he gave to Cunningham really were bribes.
Yesterday, Combs ran down the list of all the goodies Wilkes had given to Cunningham (from machine gun lessons to Super Bowl tickets to prostitutes) and how Cunningham was ready to do anything Wilkes wanted. It was a humiliating endeavor, it seems, even involving intentionally losing in poker to Cunningham, which given Cunningham's well-known dim-wittedness, can't have been easy:
The generosity extended beyond gifts. Combs said Wilkes gave Cunningham another benefit: He let him win at poker. He said Wilkes would give him cash and instruct him to lose to the congressman, and once chewed out another ADCS employee for beating Cunningham.
And as for the defense's cross-examination? Geragos apparently got Combs to admit that "Cunningham occasionally paid for wine at dinner with Wilkes."
So now we watch with interest to see what (if anything) Geragos has up his sleeve.