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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 23:22 GMT
US lawmaker quits in bribery row
Randy "Duke" Cunningham
The lawmaker broke down in tears after the court hearing
A Republican congressman in the United States has resigned after admitting he took $2.4m (1.4m) in bribes from a defence contractor.

Randy "Duke" Cunningham - a 63-year-old decorated Vietnam War pilot - pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion.

Mr Cunningham, of California, now faces up to 10 years in prison.

His plea adds to the problems blighting the party after the indictment of the chief-of-staff of the vice president over a CIA leak case, experts say.

I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family
Randy "Duke" Cunningham

"I am resigning from the House of Representatives because I've compromised the trust of my constituents," Mr Cunningham said after entering a guilty plea at a hearing in San Diego federal court.

The tearful lawmaker later told a news conference: "The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my office."

"I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family," he said.

According to prosecutors, the nine-term congressman admitted he had received kickbacks from a variety of un-named sources in the form of cheques, gifts of antiques and free holidays.

Mr Cunningham resignation only adds problems to the image problems currently mounting on the Republic Party, the BBC's James Coomarasamy in Washington says.

It comes several weeks after the indictment of Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, in connection with the CIA leak case and that of the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, on charges relating to campaign finance laws.


SEE ALSO:
DeLay hands himself in to court
20 Oct 05 |  Americas
Charged aide quits Cheney office
28 Oct 05 |  Americas



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