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No new trial for Brent Wilkes

"Self-serving declarations by a...criminal are unlikely to persuade a jury.”

Disgraced defense contractor Brent Wilkes, currently serving a 12-year sentence for his role in the Randy "Duke" Cunningham scandal, will not get the new trial he seeks, a federal appeals court ruled March 10.

Wilkes, who was convicted of funneling cash and other perks to Cunningham in order to secure $90 million in defense contracts for computer software and scanning business ADCS, argued that "new evidence" had come to light, including a statement from Cunningham that he had not taken bribe money from Wilkes, according to a Courthouse News Service report.

A Pasadena appeals court, however, found that the purportedly new evidence was in fact available to Wilkes at the time of his original trial, and that it failed to "establish a probability of acquitting him."

"Self-serving declarations by a convicted criminal are unlikely to persuade a jury, especially where those statements are directly contradicted by Cunningham's own sworn statements at his plea colloquy," wrote judge Milan Smith on behalf of a three-judge panel considering the appeal.

Cunningham was sentenced to eight years, four months, and ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution for the estimated $2.4 million he received illegally. He was released from prison and sent to a halfway house after serving less than seven years and has been free from custody since June 2013.

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