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Duncan Hunter and his wife plead not guilty to charges they misused campaign funds

Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to feder...

Posted: Aug 24, 2018 10:49 AM
Updated: Aug 24, 2018 10:49 AM

Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to federal charges they stole a quarter million dollars in campaign funds to furnish their lavish lifestyle.

After the Hunters were indicted earlier this week for spending campaign money on expenses that included a $14,000 Italian vacation and thousands of dollars on routine items like groceries, bedding and other household items, Hunter said the charges were erroneous and politically motivated.

Campaign finance

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal offenses

Duncan D. Hunter

Elections and campaigns

Fraud and financial crimes

Government and public administration

Political Figures - US

Politics

Government organizations - US

US Congress

US House of Representatives

The Hunters are accused of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, wire fraud, falsification of records and prohibited use of campaign contributions, among other charges.

Standing before Judge William Gallo in San Diego, both Hunters remained defiant and showed little emotion. They pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

When asked about bail or bond, Assistant US Attorney Phillip Halpern suggested $10,000 for Margaret Hunter and $15,000 for Duncan Hunter. Halpern explained that he did not consider either party to be a flight risk and noted their dire financial condition, which was outlined in the indictment.

"They don't have any substantial assets whatsoever," Halpern said. "A fairly low bond is appropriate in this case."

The judge instructed Duncan Hunter that he needs to lawfully transfer his two firearms to someone else. "Yes, sir," he said.

The congressman entered the courtroom with his lawyers, but not his wife, around 9:45 a.m. PT in a navy blue suit. Margaret Hunter arrived at court separately with her legal team and entered through a side door. Duncan Hunter and Margaret Hunter sat four seats apart in the courtroom after she entered.

They stood side by side as charges were read. Both were expressionless.

Duncan Hunter was represented at the hearing by Gregory Vega, who was the US attorney for the Southern District of California from 1999 to 2001.

In an interview with ABC 10 San Diego on Wednesday, Hunter said the Department of Justice has become the law enforcement arm of the Democratic Party and that liberal leaning prosecutors were targeting him in the same way they have President Donald Trump.

Hunter's comments over the last year have repeatedly implied that his wife is to blame for the suspicious purchases.

Asked pointedly by a reporter on Wednesday if his wife is responsible for the personal charges, he said only that would all come out in court.

As Hunter left the courthouse, protesters shouted, "Shame, shame, shame." He didn't speak to the media. As Hunter got into his truck he silently snatched a sign a protester had tried to place on his windshield -- which read, "Lock Him Up" -- and put it in his vehicle.

Hunter's Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, delivered a statement outside the courthouse in which he thanked Hunter for his military service but said he thought constituents would choose to vote him out in November.

"Congressman Hunter served our country honorably abroad. I just happen to think that that man who served our country never made it home from the battlefield and I think Washington chewed him up and spit him out and engulfed him in the corruption that has plagued Washington for too long."

He continued, "I think the voters come November are going to change that and hope to have real representation, for the first time in a long time, that will actually drain the swamp and bring real leadership that's beholden to the interests of the people in our district and not the special interests in Washington or the self-interest of members who use campaign funds for their own personal gain."

Trump won the 50th District by 15 percentage points in 2016. In the midst of the federal probe into his spending, Hunter secured the top spot in California's top-two primary in June with 47.4% of the vote to Campa-Najjar's 17.6%.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 252475

Reported Deaths: 5521
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17120175
Hinds16207322
Harrison13353193
Rankin10689211
Jackson10303183
Lee8796141
Madison8232162
Jones6288110
Forrest5949119
Lauderdale5847180
Lowndes5355116
Lafayette494292
Lamar484165
Washington4777123
Bolivar3966108
Oktibbeha392480
Panola368378
Pontotoc362853
Monroe3533105
Warren348498
Union343060
Marshall341665
Neshoba3370152
Pearl River327899
Leflore3002105
Lincoln297085
Sunflower282669
Tate270862
Hancock266559
Alcorn263253
Itawamba262459
Pike262077
Scott246245
Prentiss245052
Yazoo244355
Copiah240849
Tippah240450
Simpson234867
Leake230564
Coahoma230054
Grenada217770
Covington211371
Marion210672
Adams204670
Winston200164
Wayne199630
George199038
Attala193559
Newton191342
Tishomingo184459
Chickasaw183644
Jasper169735
Holmes168567
Clay159033
Stone142320
Tallahatchie140134
Clarke138660
Calhoun135721
Smith120123
Yalobusha116534
Walthall111836
Noxubee110322
Greene109729
Montgomery109434
Carroll104221
Lawrence102417
Perry101631
Amite97725
Webster92224
Tunica86321
Claiborne86125
Jefferson Davis84125
Humphreys82924
Benton81523
Kemper77120
Quitman6888
Franklin66415
Choctaw60313
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53819
Sharkey42717
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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