Duncan Hunter To Plead Guilty In Campaign Finance Case He Called ‘Witch Hunt’
The Republican congressman claimed the federal investigation into his spending was because of his support for President Donald Trump.
By Ryan J. Reilly
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) appears poised to plead guilty to federal campaign finance charges on Tuesday morning after more than a year of claiming the federal investigation into his spending habits was a “witch hunt.”
The congressman told San Diego station KUSI on Monday that he would plead guilty to avoid exposing his three children to a public trial, which would likely dwell on his extramarital relationships and involve his wife testifying against him.
The court docket in Hunter’s case also indicated on Monday that Hunter has a change of plea hearing set for Tuesday morning, as first reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune. He’ll appear before U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan, according to the notification.
Hunter was indicted in August 2018. Months later, he won reelection after launching false, racist attacks against his opponent, who was of Palestinian and Latino descent.
Hunter’s wife previously pleaded guilty in the campaign finance scheme, admitting that the couple used campaign funds for a wide variety of family expenses, including flying their pet rabbit around. Hunter also used campaign money to fund extramarital affairs, according to federal prosecutors.
“Not a single dime of taxpayer money is involved in this. The plea that I accepted is misuse of my own campaign funds, of which I pled guilty to only one count,” Hunter told KUSI. “Whatever my time in custody is, I will take that hit. My only hope is that the judge does not sentence my wife to jail. I think my kids need a mom in the home.”
Hunter also said that he hopes his Southern California congressional seat will remain in Republican hands. “President Trump right now needs support more than ever,” he said.
The congressman was one of Donald Trump’s earliest supporters, and Trump lashed out at then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for allowing Hunter and another Trump-supporting lawmaker, former Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), to be indicted. Collins pleaded guilty to insider trading in October.
Hunter’s trial had been set to take place early next year.