Ex-San Diego congressman Cunningham gets early release - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Ex-San Diego congressman Cunningham gets early release

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(AP photo) (AP photo)

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/CNS) - Randy "Duke" Cunningham, the disgraced ex-San Diego congressman, plans to live in a gated Arkansas community in the wake of his early release from post-prison monitoring, it was reported Wednesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns granted the 72-year-old former Republican lawmaker's request to be removed two years early from a three-year term of supervised release, according to U-T San Diego, which reported that the order was effective July 1.

Cunningham pleaded guilty in 2005 to conspiracy and tax evasion and resigned his House seat on Nov. 28, 2005, admitting he received $2 million in bribes from defense contractors to favor them with federal business.

In an interview with CBS News 8, Cunningham talked about his early release from parole.

"I'm glad the saga is over. It's been a long time. It's been very hurtful, not only for me, but for the people I've disappointed, and I'm sincerely sorry," he said. "It takes something traumatic in your life to make you realize you're heading down the wrong road and I'm doing everything I can to keep going down the right road."

He told CBS News 8 he has written five books. He goes to church, and volunteers with veterans groups and the local fire department.

"I'm a volunteer firefighter. I'm pretty handicapped. I can't go into fires, but I can lay out the equipment. I'm the best gopher they ever had," he said.

Cunningham, who spent 14 years in Congress, said in a letter to the judge that he also volunteers with Wings of Freedom, a group that flies vintage aircraft at air shows and "promotes patriotism, Christian values and a love of flying."

He also said he's not ruling out returning to San Diego.

"I might come back to San Diego. I've got a lot of friends, a lot of people that wrote to me over the years and supported me," he said.

Cunningham still owes about $2 million in restitution and back taxes. He receives a pension from his time in the military and Congress, and pays about $4,000 per month to reduce his debts.


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