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Rep. Duncan Hunter’s Wife, Margaret, Changes Plea In Corruption Case

Margaret Hunter, center, the wife of U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, arrives for an ...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Margaret Hunter, center, the wife of U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, arrives for an arraignment hearing Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in San Diego.

Margaret Hunter, the wife of Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, who was co-indicted on corruption charges last year, has agreed to change her plea of not guilty and is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday morning.

The change of plea was posted to the United States District Court calendar. It did not offer any details as to why.

Hunter and his wife were indicted last August on 60 counts for allegedly spending more than $250,000 in campaign finance funds on a range of items, including family trips, alcohol, shopping sprees, video games and more. The indictment mentioned they spent $600 of campaign cash to fly their pet rabbit on a family vacation.

Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Attempts by KPBS to reach attorneys representing Margaret Hunter were unsuccessful.

Gregory Vega, attorney for Rep. Hunter, issued the following statement to KPBS:

“We are aware of Mrs. Hunter scheduling a hearing to change her plea. At this time, that does not change anything regarding Congressman Hunter. There are still significant motions that need to be litigated, specifically the speech or debate clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

RELATED: Judge Sets Trial Date For US Rep. Duncan Hunter

Rep. Hunter has maintained that the charges against him were part of a political witch-hunt and said that his wife was responsible for his finances. She also served as his campaign manager.

Hunter has served in Congress since 2009, first representing the 52nd District and then the 50th District. His father, Duncan L. Hunter, represented the 52nd District for nearly three decades prior to his son.

Hunter was one of two congressmen re-elected in 2018 while under indictment. The other was New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins.

The Hunters were set to appear in court Sept. 10.

Information for the timeline was pulled directly from an indictment released Aug. 21, 2018. The indictment protects the identity of any individuals ("Individual" or "Congressman") other than Rep. Duncan Hunter himself or his wife Margaret.

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Margaret Hunter, who was co-indicted on corruption charges last year, has agreed to change her plea and is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday. Plus, KPBS travels to El Paso to talk with U.S. Army leaders who are running operations at the border from Texas to California; and the California Democratic Party is thinking of using people living in ... Read more →

Aired: June 13, 2019 | Transcript

Alexander Nguyen contributed to this story.

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