Duncan Hunter Announces He Will Plead Guilty In Criminal Campaign Finance Case

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) participates in a news conference with the Republican members of the California congressional delegation to discuss California water legislation on Dec. 11, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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December 2, 2019 2:51 p.m.
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Embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) announced on Monday that he will change his plea to “guilty” in his campaign finance fraud case on Tuesday.

Hunter told local news channel KUSI News that he will plead guilty to one count of misuse of campaign funds because he did not want to go through with the criminal trial scheduled for January next year.

“It’s important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids,” he said. “I think it’d be really tough for them. It’s hard enough being the kids of a public figure and I think it’s time for them to live life outside the spotlight.”

The congressman admitted he “did make mistakes.”

He seemingly hinted at plans to resign from his seat, telling KUSI News that “it’s been a privilege” to serve. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) office did not respond to a request for comment on whether she had received any notice from Hunter.

Hunter and his wife Margaret, who ran his campaign, were co-indicted in August 2018 for misusing $250,000 in campaign donations, which they had spent on vacations, restaurants, and even flights for their pet rabbit. Both pleaded not guilty at the time.

The Republican lawmaker then publicly threw his wife under the bus three days after the indictment, telling Fox News that she was the one who was handling his finances.

“So whatever she did, that will be looked at, too, I’m sure,” he said at the time. “But I didn’t do it.”

Margaret Hunter switched to “guilty” in June this year and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement. Less than two weeks later, federal prosecutors hit the congressman with a new bombshell allegation: using campaign funds to carry out five extramarital affairs via hotel stays, Uber rides, and ski trips.

On Tuesday, Hunter expressed concern about his wife’s situation.

“My only hope is that the judge does not sentence my wife to jail,” he said. “I think my kids need a mom in the home.”

 

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