Judge Asked To Reschedule Sentencing Of Rep. Duncan Hunter’s Wife In Campaign Finance Case
Federal prosecutors and lawyers representing Margaret Hunter, the wife of Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, asked the court Tuesday to change her sentencing hearing date for from September to December.
The reason for the change, according to the court filing, is “so that the trial of Co-Defendant Duncan Hunter is able to be completed prior to Ms. Hunter’s sentencing hearing in light of her ongoing cooperation.”
In 2018, the Hunters were charged with misusing more than $200,000 campaign funds to pay for their lavish personal lifestyle and falsifying Federal Election Commission campaign reports to cover their tracks. Prosecutors say they illegally used campaign money for, among other things, a $14,000 vacation to Italy, more than $3,000 in tabs at fast-food restaurants like In-N-Out and Taco Bell and a $250 plane ride for their pet rabbit.
The case against the couple was slated to go to trial this fall. Then, in June, Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge and agreed to testify against her husband. Under the terms of the deal, she faces up to five years in federal custody and a fine of up to $250,000.
Rep. Hunter has maintained that the charges against him were part of a political witch hunt and said his wife was responsible for his finances. She also served as his campaign manager.
The embattled congressman tried to have the case against him dismissed in July, claiming, in part, he is protected under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate clause, which shields members of Congress from being prosecuted for legislative activities.
The judge denied the motion and the congressman has until Sept. 6 to appeal the ruling. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 10.
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 U.S. congressmen re-elected in 2018 while under indictment. The other was New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins.