"We got naked and got in the Jacuzzi"

In honor of this weekend's Value Voters Summit, a look at a GOP bribery trial.

Published October 19, 2007 11:53AM (EDT)

Republican presidential contenders will be making their cases before religious conservatives gathered in Washington this weekend. We thought it might be nice to mark the occasion by checking in on the trial of Brent Wilkes, the defense contractor charged with bribing Randy "Duke" Cunningham, the Republican representative from California who enjoyed a 100 percent vote rating from the Christian Coalition before he resigned in disgrace in 2005.

Prosecutors finished putting on their case against Wilkes this week. But before they did, they made sure the court got to hear from two prostitutes Wilkes' nephew allegedly hired to care for Wilkes and Cunningham during a trip to Hawaii.

The highlights of the prostitutes' testimony, as reported by the North County Times and noted by Talking Points Memo:

When the prostitutes arrived, Cunningham and Wilkes argued over who would enjoy the attention of which one. Cunningham got angry when Wilkes kept the prettier of the two women for himself -- so angry, the North County Times suggests, that it may have hindered his cozy business relationship with Wilkes, but not so angry that he didn't make use of the services that the not-so-attractive prostitute was there to provide.

"They asked us if we wanted to get naked and get into the Jacuzzi," the less attractive of the two prostitutes told the court this week.

"What did you do?" the prosecutor asked.

"We got naked and got in the Jacuzzi," she said.

The woman said Cunningham proceeded to feed her grapes in the Jacuzzi before having sex with her. How did she know she was working for a member of Congress? She didn't, it seems, but she picked Cunningham out of a photo lineup in court and remembered that she had been stuck with the older of the two fellows that day -- the one with the "heavy jowls and puffy face."

Cunningham, who was married at the time of the alleged Jacuzzi-soaking, grape-feeding and sex-having incident, resigned from Congress in 2005 after pleading guilty to corruption charges. He is currently serving an eight-year, four-month sentence in federal prison.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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