Disgraced congressman granted early release from monitoring

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SAN DIEGO — 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.

Randy "Duke" CunninghamU.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.

The U-T reported Cunningham will live in Hot Springs Village, a community with nine golf courses, 11 lakes and “numerous other amenities spread over 26,000 acres in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains.” His brother lives in Arkansas.

Cunningham told the U-T he has written five books, including one on how to be a great fighter pilot; he was a Vietnam War ace and Top Gun instructor. He plans another on prison reform based on his seven years in federal custody, including a Tucson minimum-security lockup.

“I would tell my constituents and my friends that I’m sorry for the actions I took,” the U-T quoted him as saying. “There is not a day goes by that I don’t ask myself how the hell did I do what I did? You get caught up in something. I let it happen, and it was wrong.”

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

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