Disgraced Ex-Congressman Berates Reporter From Cell

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Disgraced former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham lashed out at the reporter who uncovered the corruption scandal that sent him to prison, telling him in a letter that his “constant cruelty” had nearly destroyed Cunningham’s life.

The former Navy pilot also blasted defense contractor Mitchell Wade, who helped implicate him to authorities.

“Wade is the absolute devil,” the former eight-term Republican congressman wrote in the four-page, handwritten letter, excerpts of which were published Saturday on the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Web site.

Wade has pleaded guilty to giving Cunningham more than $1 million in bribes and is awaiting sentencing.

Marcus Stern, the Copley News Service reporter who broke the news last year of Cunningham’s corruption, said he didn’t take the former congressman’s remarks personally.

“I just felt this was a guy in anguish,” Stern said.

Stern said he wrote to Cunningham in early September, requesting an interview.

In response, the former lawmaker wrote, “I hurt more than anyone could imagine and without my faith your constant cruelty would destroy me.”

Cunningham, who held seats on powerful House intelligence and appropriations committees, admitted in November that he accepted $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors in exchange for government contracts and other favors.

“I should have said no to the gifts. For that, I am truly sorry,” Cunningham wrote.

Cunningham was sentenced in March to more than eight years in federal prison and is being housed at a low-security correctional center in North Carolina.

Cunningham’s estranged wife, meanwhile, will pay $1.6 million in back taxes and penalties for her role in the scandal, according to a settlement filed Friday.

The federal government sued Nancy Cunningham last year.

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