Cunningham declares innocence on morning television show North County Times - North San Diego and Southwest Riverside County News

By: Wire Reports

SAN DIEGO - Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, under investigation for his dealings with a defense contractor, expressed his innocence today in his first extended interview since he announced he would not seek another term in office.

"We've done nothing illegal, nothing wrong," said Cunningham.

"If I've broken the law, then get me," Cunningham said in an interview that aired on the KUSI Morning News.

Cunningham, 63, has admitted "poor judgment" in the sale of his Del Mar home to Mitchell Wade, the former head of defense contractor MZM Inc., which donated $13,000 to the lawmaker in the 2003-04 election cycle.

Wade bought the home for $1.67 million and re-sold it eight months later at a $700,000 loss. Cunningham, a longtime member of the House Armed Services Committee, used the proceeds to purchase a house in Rancho Santa Fe.

While in Washington, D.C., Cunningham lived for about a year on a 42-foot cabin cruiser owned by Wade.

The eight-term congressman said today that he paid $2,000 a month to live on the boat.

A federal grand jury is investigating the legality of the transactions.

Last month, Cunningham announced he would not run for re-election next year, saying he couldn't perform his duties in Washington and campaign while defending himself.

Cunningham, who said he has no plans to resign, also said he would sell the house and donate a portion of the proceeds to charity.

Wade and two other top executives have left MZM.


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