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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.

Confirmed Cases: 27900

Reported Deaths: 1082
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds215239
DeSoto137316
Madison122234
Jones106949
Neshoba96069
Lauderdale88278
Rankin84112
Forrest81442
Scott75015
Harrison7448
Copiah56615
Leake54819
Jackson53316
Holmes52741
Wayne52112
Washington4969
Lee49316
Oktibbeha48624
Yazoo4736
Leflore47249
Lowndes45311
Warren44317
Lincoln43534
Lamar4197
Grenada3805
Monroe36729
Pike36712
Attala35223
Lafayette3524
Newton3289
Sunflower3066
Covington3025
Bolivar27713
Panola2706
Adams26718
Chickasaw25918
Tate2577
Jasper2506
Marion24811
Pontotoc2476
Noxubee2458
Pearl River24432
Winston2435
Clay24210
Claiborne23610
Simpson2303
Smith20611
Clarke20124
Marshall2013
Coahoma1866
Kemper17614
Union1759
Walthall1724
Yalobusha1617
Carroll16011
Lawrence1591
Itawamba1278
Calhoun1244
Humphreys1239
Tippah12311
Webster12310
Montgomery1222
Hancock12013
Jefferson Davis1064
Tallahatchie1043
Prentiss983
Greene927
Jefferson923
Wilkinson919
Tunica893
Amite822
George743
Choctaw714
Quitman680
Tishomingo681
Perry614
Alcorn561
Stone521
Franklin382
Benton270
Sharkey240
Issaquena71
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 38442

Reported Deaths: 947
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4387142
Montgomery383999
Mobile3697134
Tuscaloosa204938
Marshall153710
Lee118937
Shelby108223
Madison10577
Morgan9813
Walker86723
Franklin85213
Dallas8198
Elmore81314
Baldwin6869
Etowah62513
Butler60427
DeKalb6025
Chambers58127
Tallapoosa56369
Autauga54511
Unassigned52025
Russell4840
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4446
Houston4344
Limestone4090
Cullman4003
Pike3995
Colbert3685
Bullock3629
Coffee3532
Barbour3231
Covington3087
St. Clair3042
Hale29321
Marengo28611
Wilcox2808
Sumter27612
Calhoun2705
Talladega2677
Clarke2665
Escambia2636
Dale2440
Jackson2382
Winston2333
Blount2141
Chilton2112
Pickens2116
Marion20312
Monroe1972
Choctaw19212
Conecuh1804
Bibb1711
Macon1708
Randolph1709
Greene1667
Perry1451
Henry1303
Crenshaw1233
Lawrence1010
Washington1007
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Lamar711
Fayette671
Geneva670
Clay582
Coosa551
Cleburne291
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