Rep. Duncan Hunter’s wife to switch plea to guilty in corruption case
Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter’s wife, Margaret, is switching her plea to guilty in a federal case alleging she and her husband misused campaign funds, according to her lawyer, Thomas McNamara.
Margaret Hunter will appear in court on Thursday to change her plea, according to the case docket.
The Hunters both previously pleaded not guilty to federal charges that they had stolen a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds to furnish their lavish lifestyle. They stand accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against the US, wire fraud, falsification of records and prohibited use of campaign contributions, among other charges.
The California Republican last year seemingly blamed his wife for the alleged campaign fund abuses and said she was the one who handled his finances.
McNamara did not tell CNN whether Margaret Hunter is now cooperating with federal investigators. The attorney would not specify to which charges she will be pleading guilty.
Duncan Hunter’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
The congressman has repaid tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign account, according to Federal Election Commission reports. He has said that charges were made on the campaign credit card in error, but he has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
During a recent telephone interview with CNN, he said he was not worried that the charges against him would affect his reelection bid. He has already drawn several opponents in California’s 50th Congressional District, which is a heavily Republican district.
House leaders stripped Hunter of his committee assignments last year, as he and his wife await a September trial.
Hunter won reelection in November despite facing the indictment on federal corruption charges.
The congressman recently stirred controversy when he said in May that as an artillery officer, his unit “killed probably hundreds of civilians” during his 2004 tour in Fallujah, Iraq.
He was defending Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL facing a premeditated murder charge in the stabbing death of an injured person in Iraq. President Donald Trump is considering pardoning Gallagher.
In an attempt to defend Gallagher, Hunter previously acknowledged he posed for a photo with a dead enemy combatant while serving in the US Marine Corps — arguing that many service members have done the same.
A Marine Corps spokesman told CNN last month that US service members have been charged under military law with mistreatment of the dead after taking pictures with slain enemy combatants.