GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, after claiming ‘witch hunt,’ to plead responsible to misusing marketing campaign funds

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter says he’ll plead responsible to misusing marketing campaign funds — a felony case he’d as soon as decried as a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

The Republican lawmaker will formally enter his responsible plea in a listening to in federal courtroom in San Diego on Tuesday morning, his courtroom docket exhibits.

In an interview with KUSI Information, Hunter mentioned he would plead responsible to at least one rely of misusing marketing campaign funds within the case.

“I did make errors. I didn’t correctly monitor or account for my marketing campaign cash,” he mentioned. “I’m liable for my marketing campaign and what occurs to my marketing campaign cash.”

The change of plea was first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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Prosecutors had charged Hunter and his spouse “transformed and stole” greater than 1 / 4 million {dollars} in marketing campaign funds for their very own use, together with journeys to Hawaii and Italy, bar tabs, theater tickets and college tuition for his or her children. Prosecutors have additionally charged that Hunter used marketing campaign cash to finance romantic flings with lobbyists and congressional aides.

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Each Hunters pleaded not responsible final 12 months, however the Republican congressman and Iraq struggle vet appeared to blame his partner for his or her issues in an interview on Fox Information quickly after.

“Once I went away to Iraq in 2003, the primary time, I gave her energy of legal professional. She dealt with my funds all through my total army profession and that continued on once I obtained into Congress,” Hunter mentioned on “The Story.”

“She was additionally the marketing campaign supervisor, so no matter she did, that’ll be checked out, too, I am certain, however I did not do it.”

Hunter’s spouse, Margaret, pleaded responsible to conspiring to misuse marketing campaign funds in June, and was anticipated to testify towards her husband at his trial, which had been scheduled for Jan. 22.

“I believe it is necessary to not have a public trial for 3 causes, and people three causes are my children,” Duncan Hunter mentioned within the KUSI interview.

He mentioned he didn’t know the way a lot time he’ll get from the decide, however added, “No matter my time in custody is, I’ll take that hit. My solely hope is the decide doesn’t sentence my spouse to jail. I believe my children want a mother at house.”

Hunter is a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, and was the second sitting member of Congress to endorse his 2016 presidential marketing campaign.

The primary, Rep. Chris Collins of New York, pleaded responsible final month to federal costs associated to insider buying and selling and resigned his seat. Like Hunter, he had taken a web page from the Trump playbook and mentioned the investigation into his actions was “a political witch hunt.”

Hunter, who’d been working for re-election subsequent 12 months, was obscure when requested what would occur along with his seat.

“We will move it off to whoever takes the seat subsequent. I believe it is necessary to maintain the seat a Republican seat,” he mentioned. “President Trump proper now wants help greater than ever.”

Andrew Blankstein

Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC Information. He covers the Western United States, specializing in crime, courts and homeland safety. 

Image: Dareh GregorianDareh Gregorian

Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC Information.

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