Ex-Calif. Rep. 'Duke' Cunningham gets early release

ccadelago@sacbee.comJuly 9, 2014 

CONGRESS BLACK BUDGETS

Former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Del Mar, speaks during a news conference held in “Smugglers Gulch” along the U.S.- Mexico border in San Diego, in March 2005.

DENIS POROY — AP Photo

Former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the Vietnam War hero turned congressional crook, is now a free man.

Last week, a federal judge granted the ex-Del Mar Republican’s request to cut short a three-year term of supervised release. Cunningham pleaded guilty in 2005 to conspiracy, wire fraud and tax evasion and admitting to taking more than $2 million in bribes. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

In an interview with U-T San Diego’s Greg Moran, Cunningham said he’s authored five books on topics ranging from prison reform to how to become a standout fighter pilot. He lives in the gated community of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas and court papers describe him as active in his church and a volunteer firefighter, the newspaper reported. But Cunningham said he mourns losing his family in the scandal.

“I would tell my constituents and my friends that I’m sorry for the actions I took,” he said. “There is not a day goes by that I don’t ask myself, how the hell did I do what I did? You get caught up in something. I let it happen, and it was wrong.”

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago

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