It has been reported that the wife of Republican Representative Duncan Hunter of California entered a guilty plea on Thursday to “misusing” $250,000 in campaign funding.
The Daily Caller reports: Hunter and his wife were first indicted for the misuse of campaign money in late 2018. At that time, Hunter committed to “remain silent, not to feed into this witch-hunt and trust the process,” The Hill reported. Both entered not guilty pleas.
Margaret Hunter’s plea change was accompanied by a statement of full acceptance of guilt and willingness to testify on behalf of the prosecution.
“I am deeply remorseful and I apologize,” Margaret said to the court.
Hunter’s lawyer, Gregory Vega, talked to The San Diego Tribune. He stated that Hunter’s defense is “aware of Mrs. Hunter scheduling a hearing to change her plea.” She went on to say, however, “that does not change anything regarding Congressman Hunter. There are still significant motions that need to be litigated, specifically the speech or debate clause of the U.S. Constitution.”
The Daily Caller reports that “Margaret Hunter is scheduled for sentencing on September 17 and could face up to five years in prison. Hunter has previously attempted to blame his wife, stating she managed his finances throughout his campaigns and five of his six terms in office.”
“She was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did, that’ll be looked at too, I’m sure, but I didn’t do it, I didn’t spend any money illegally,” Hunter stated to Fox News personality Martha MacCallum in 2018.
The Daily Caller explains, “The representative also tried to dismiss his scandal after repaying $60,000 to his campaign last November. The stolen funds were allegedly used to afford makeup, entertainment, travel and over $5,000 of fast food, according to The Chicago Tribune.”
Although Hunter and his wife were employed by the illegal financial strategy, he still holds a ranking along with the least wealthy representatives, Roll Call reported.
Via Time Magazine: The California congressman’s attorney, Gregory Vega, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Margaret Hunter’s decision should have no impact on his client’s federal corruption case that alleges the couple spent more than $250,000 in campaign money on a lavish lifestyle, bankrolling Italian and Hawaiian vacations, tequila shots and theater tickets while their household budget was in the red.
The alleged misuse of funds occurred from 2010 to 2016.
Former U.S. prosecutor Jason A. Forge said it’s rare for one spouse to plead out when the other’s case has not been resolved.
Forge prosecuted California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who resigned from Congress in 2005 and served more than seven years in prison for one of the worst bribery scandals to ever bring down a federal lawmaker.
Forge said Margaret Hunter may also be ready to testify about the status of their marriage and how much sway she had over the spending.
Since the indictment last year, the Hunters have entered U.S. court in San Diego separately with their own attorneys and also have left separately.