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9th Circuit Court Agrees To Hear Duncan Hunter’s Appeal

Rep. Duncan Hunter enters the San Diego Federal Courthouse, June 8, 2019.

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: Rep. Duncan Hunter enters the San Diego Federal Courthouse, June 8, 2019.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this week agreed to hear Rep. Duncan Hunter's, R-Alpine, appeal in the corruption case against him.

The court agreed to hear Hunter's appeal in December ahead of his trial on Jan. 14. Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, were indicted in August, 2018, with 60 counts of misusing campaign funds for personal use and falsifying Federal Election Commission campaign finance reports.

If the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit sides with Hunter, his case could be dismissed before his criminal trial.

The Hunters allegedly misreported the expenses on FEC filings, using false descriptions such as "campaign travel," "toy drives," "dinner with volunteers/contributors" and "gift cards," according to federal prosecutors.

The congressman wants the case against him dismissed because he claims the government violated his rights under the constitution's speech and debate clause. He argues that he cannot be prosecuted for legislative acts.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan dismissed the motion in July, saying the claim was "wholly without merit."

Prosecutors say the appeal is a tactic to delay the trial and they have asked the court to dismiss it.

Margaret Hunter has pleaded guilty to one corruption count and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Listen to this story by Alex Nguyen.

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