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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: 319115

Reported Deaths: 7353
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22246264
Hinds20612421
Harrison18342316
Rankin13855282
Jackson13666248
Madison10213224
Lee10050176
Jones8452167
Forrest7810153
Lauderdale7253242
Lowndes6488149
Lamar632288
Lafayette6295120
Washington5412136
Bolivar4833133
Panola4659110
Oktibbeha465898
Pearl River4591146
Marshall4571105
Warren4436121
Pontotoc424573
Union415576
Monroe4154135
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock385187
Leflore3514125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn323272
Scott319274
Yazoo313971
Adams304785
Itawamba304777
Copiah299666
Coahoma298283
Simpson297889
Tippah291168
Prentiss283361
Leake271674
Marion271280
Covington266683
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251851
Newton248563
Tishomingo230867
Winston229881
Jasper222048
Attala214973
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187454
Stone187233
Tallahatchie179941
Clarke178980
Calhoun173732
Yalobusha167740
Smith164034
Walthall135147
Greene131633
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite125942
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica107927
Jefferson Davis107633
Claiborne102930
Benton102225
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin84923
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50817
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547323

Reported Deaths: 11266
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson808021563
Mobile41925826
Madison35600522
Tuscaloosa26136458
Shelby25554254
Montgomery25067610
Baldwin21774313
Lee16234175
Calhoun14692325
Morgan14614285
Etowah14132361
Marshall12443230
Houston10748287
Elmore10295212
Limestone10180157
St. Clair10146250
Cullman9921200
Lauderdale9582248
DeKalb8955189
Talladega8441184
Walker7318279
Autauga7215113
Blount6925139
Jackson6900113
Colbert6394139
Coffee5616126
Dale4928114
Russell454441
Chilton4461116
Franklin430683
Covington4263122
Tallapoosa4117154
Escambia400280
Chambers3715123
Dallas3604156
Clarke352861
Marion3231106
Pike313978
Lawrence3121100
Winston283372
Bibb267364
Geneva256981
Marengo250565
Pickens236562
Barbour234559
Hale226578
Butler223371
Fayette217162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph186844
Monroe179141
Washington170339
Macon163051
Clay159559
Crenshaw155057
Cleburne152543
Lamar145837
Lowndes141953
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh112930
Coosa111129
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
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