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12 House members won't be subpoenaed

SAN DIEGO -- A lawyer for a defense contractor accused of bribing former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham on Tuesday withdrew subpoenas of a dozen House members after a federal judge indicated he was prepared to quash them.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said he might consider enforcing the subpoenas if attorneys for Brent Wilkes could demonstrate the lawmakers had specific information related to the charges and their testimony would be critical to Wilkes' defense.

Wilkes' attorney, Mark Geragos, dropped his request but said later that he planned to file new subpoenas against former House Speaker U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and four California Republicans.

Wilkes was scheduled to go on trial today on charges that he gave Cunningham more than $700,000 in cash and perks like private jet flights, a Sea-Doo jet boat and prostitutes as kickbacks for government contracts.

Wilkes, 53, has pleaded not guilty to 25 counts of conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and unlawful monetary transactions. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Last month, Wilkes' attorneys subpoenaed lawmakers to tes-tify but refused requests by House lawyers to specify what questions they planned to ask.

Several subpoenas included requests for documents containing details of targeted spending items, known as "earmarks," that Cunningham requested for Wilkes and any evidence of bribes offered or paid to Cunningham or other members of Congress by Wilkes and others.

Cunningham is serving more than eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty in 2005 to accepting $2.4 million in bribes from contractors. He is cooperating with prosecutors and may testify.

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