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GREG BLUESTEIN – (Associated Press) - ATLANTA - December 21, 2011 – A high-ranking Department of Defense employee pleaded guilty on Wednesday to taking a bribe from an Afghanistan-based contractor, saying he was “wrong in so many ways” for taking a backpack stuffed with $95,000 in cash to influence a lucrative contract.
Desi Deandre Wade offered his apologies to the judge after pleading guilty to taking the bribe from the contractor during the Fire-Rescue International Conference in Atlanta. He could face up to 15 years in prison when he’s sentenced on Feb. 29 but he’ll likely receive far less time.
“I just accept responsibility. I made a mistake. There was a lot of things weighing on me but I was wrong,” said Wade. “I didn’t want to play games. I wanted to take responsibility from day one.”
Wade, a U.S. Army veteran and a longtime firefighter, was the department’s Chief of Fire and Emergency Services in Afghanistan when he was arrested. Authorities said they began to monitor him in July when Afghanistan-based investigators got a tip from an Afghan-based contractor.