Prior to sentencing, in a plea for leniency, Cunningham's defense lawyers noted his status as a decorated combat veteran and described him as already "penniless, homeless, estranged from family and disgraced in the eyes of his countrymen."
"This man has been humiliated beyond belief by his own hand. He is estranged from those he loves most and cares most about," [defense attorney] Blalack said. "All his worldly possessions are gone. He will carry a crushing tax debt until the day he dies. He will go to jail until he’s 70 years old." (Source)Good. That's certainly a start.
Cunningham was a war hero who used his past heroism to get elected to public office, and then proceeded to leverage his position of power to accumulate great wealth. "Abusing the public trust" doesn't even begin to cover what he did; Cunningham was feeding like a pig at a trough:
In the weeks leading up to the sentencing, sharper details of Mr. Cunningham's crimes emerged. In court papers, the government said he had behaved like an old ward boss, sketching out a "bribe menu" on a note card with the Congressional seal. One column offered $16 million in contracts in exchange for the title to a boat the contractor had bought for $140,000. The card further detailed how much more contract work could be bought for every additional $50,000 paid to Mr. Cunningham.Enjoy prison, Duke. There are quite a few folks still on the Hill who will probably be joining you shortly, especially if the rumors of your extensive cooperation with the prosecution prove to be true.
Ex-Congressman Gets 8-Year Term in Bribery Case - New York Times