Duncan Hunter’s Lawyer Attended Clinton Fundraiser He Said Disqualified Prosecutors

on October 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Scott Olson/Getty Images North America

In a 22-page motion last month, Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-CA) lawyer Gregory Vega argued that the campaign finance case against the congressman was undercut by the fact that two prosecutors involved with the case had attended a private La Jolla, California, fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in August 2015.

One conspicuous point Vega failed to mention: He was there too. In fact, he’s given thousands of dollars over the years to Clinton’s campaigns, and tens of thousands to Democratic groups and candidates, the Times of San Diego noted.

Two prosecutors involved in Hunter’s case “both attended a political fundraiser for candidate Clinton and shortly thereafter both were involved in initiating an investigation of the first Congressman to endorse candidate Trump,” Hunter’s lawyer’s filing last month read. “Those facts alone warranted recusal.”

The fundraiser mentioned in the filing matched public reports of one at the La Jolla home of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan in 2015.

In court on Monday, as the Times of San Diego reported, Judge Thomas J. Whelan denied the Hunter team’s request to dismiss the case or order the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s Office’s recusal, saying there was no indication of a conflict of interest.

In that hearing, the government revealed to the judge that Vega was at the fundraiser, as well.

“The irony of this case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Conover told the court, “is that the defendant’s lawyer, Mr. Vega, was at that exact same fundraiser that exact same day. He was there to support Mrs. Clinton and he donated to be there.”

He added that Hunter’s logic regarding prosecutors’ alleged bias “would mean Mr. Vega is biased against his own client.”

After the hearing, the Times noted, Hunter’s father, former Rep. Duncan Lee Hunter, recalled Vega telling him of the fundraiser, “But for me being there, nobody would have ever known that [the prosecutors were there].”

But for Vega’s filing last month, prosecutors likely wouldn’t have mentioned his presence there, either.

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