I think it's important not to have a public trial for three reasons, Rep. Duncan Hunter said. And those three reasons are my kids.
‘I did make mistakes’: Rep. Duncan Hunter, an early Trump supporter, will plead guilty to campaign finance violations

‘I did make mistakes’: Rep. Duncan Hunter, an early Trump supporter, will plead guilty to campaign finance violations

‘I did make mistakes’: Rep. Duncan Hunter, an early Trump supporter, will plead guilty to campaign finance violations

‘I did make mistakes’: Rep. Duncan Hunter, an early Trump supporter, will plead guilty to campaign finance violations

‘I did make mistakes’: Rep. Duncan Hunter, an early Trump supporter, will plead guilty to campaign finance violations

‘I did make mistakes’: Rep. Duncan Hunter, an early Trump supporter, will plead guilty to campaign finance violations
‘I did make mistakes’: Rep. Duncan Hunter, an early Trump supporter, will plead guilty to campaign finance violations
  • 2019-12-03 02:00:39 3 days ago
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Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) arrives for his arraignment at federal court in San Diego, California, U.S. August 23, 2018.
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Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) arrives for his arraignment at federal court in San Diego, California, U.S. August 23, 2018.
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Mike Blake/Reuters

  • Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego, California, one of President Donald Trump’s earliest backers in his presidential campaign, will plead guilty to at least one count of misusing campaign funds.
  • After the Federal Election Commission launched an investigation in 2016, Hunter was indicted two years later on accusations of misusing $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses – such as groceries, video games, expensive meals, and visits to their family dentist.
  • “I think it’s important not to have a public trial for three reasons. And those three reasons are my kids,” Hunter said. “I think it’d be really tough for them. It’s hard enough being the kids of a public figure. I think it’s time for them to live life outside the spotlight.”
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Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego, California, one of President Donald Trump’s earliest backers in his presidential campaign, will plead guilty to at least one count of misusing campaign funds.

After the Federal Election Commission launched an investigation in 2016, Hunter was indicted two years later on accusations of misusing $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses – such as groceries, video games, expensive meals, and visits to their family dentist. His trial was scheduled for January 22, 2020.

“That’s not going to happen now,” Hunter said in an interview with KUSI on Tuesday.

Hunter said he was pleading guilty to prevent the trial from going public due to family reasons.

“I think it’s important not to have a public trial for three reasons. And those three reasons are my kids,” Hunter said. “I think it’d be really tough for them. It’s hard enough being the kids of a public figure. I think it’s time for them to live life outside the spotlight.”

According to the indictment, the allegations claim that he and his wife, Margaret, “knowingly conspired with each other” to convert campaign funds “for their own personal benefit and enjoyment.”

Margaret, who was the campaign chairwoman, already pleaded guilty and consented to testifying against Hunter.

Prosecutors also alleged the two denigrated the military and masked their personal spending under the guise of gifts for wounded veterans. During a trip to Hawaii in 2015, Hunter, a former US Marine officer, allegedly told Margaret he planned “to buy my Hawaii shorts” but had run out of money. Margaret advised him to buy the shorts at a golfing gear shop so they could later describe the sale as “some [golf] balls for the wounded warriors,” the indictment said.

Hunter allegedly attempted to justify using campaign money to fund a family trip to Italy in 2015, by setting up a tour of a US Navy facility in the country. Navy officials said they could not accommodate a tour on his date, to which he responded by telling his chief of staff, “tell the navy to go f— themselves,” the indictment said.

Margaret allegedly tried to disguise the trip to Italy by claiming it was “mostly military/defense meet related,” despite having emailed a friend that the trip was “our best family trip so far.”

“Throughout the relevant period, the Hunters spent substantially more than they earned,” the indictment said. “By virtue of these delinquencies as well as notifications of outstanding debts … the Hunters knew that many of their desired purchases could only be made using campaign funds.”

Hunter has since reimbursed his campaign around $65,000 since the FEC’s investigation.

“I think it’s important that people know that I did make mistakes,” Hunter said to KUSI. “I did not properly monitor, or account for, my campaign money.”

“Whatever my time in custody is, I will take that hit,” Hunter added. “My only hope is that the judge does not sentence my wife to jail. I think my kids need a mom in the home.”

Following his indictment, the local Republican Party’s chapter cut ties and declined to endorse him. In October, Hunter said he “got this seat” and was “still fighting from this seat.”

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‘I did make mistakes’: Rep. Duncan Hunter, an early Trump supporter, will plead guilty to campaign finance violations