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Duke Cunningham Sent to Halfway House

SAN DIEGO (CN) - Former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, serving eight years in federal prison for bribery and tax evasion, has been sent to a halfway house in New Orleans and will be released on June 4, 2013, the Bureau of Prisons said.

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Cunningham, 71, resigned from Congress after serving seven terms and was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison. He pleaded guilty to taking at least $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors, to steer government work to them.

Cunningham, a conservative Republican and ardent backer of defense spending, is considered by some to have been one of the models on which Tom Cruise's character in "Top Gun" was based. He was the only Navy fighter pilot to become an "ace" during the Vietnam war, recording five confirmed "kills" of enemy planes.

Cunningham represented California's 50th Congressional District, based in Oceanside, from 1991 to 2005.

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