United Press International - NewsTrack - Judge sides with prosecutors

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A federal judge's ruling may help prosecutors' effort to seize a mansion bought by U.S. Rep. Randy Cunningham, R-Calif., who is facing bribery charges.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw in San Diego said prosecutors don't have to prove, for now, their allegations that Cunningham bought the Rancho Santa Fe mansion with bribe money from a defense contractor, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Cunningham bought the 7,600-square-foot home in December 2003 with proceeds from the sale of a Del Mar home to a friend who does business with the government, the newspaper said. Prosecutors allege the transaction was a bribe.

Technically, the judge granted a "stay" in the civil lawsuit seeking the forfeiture of Cunningham's house, the report said.

The decision means the congressman cannot keep the money from the sale of the house, which is now on the market for $3.15 million. That issue will be decided later, probably pending the completion of a criminal investigation into the case, the newspaper said.