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National Govt & Politics
GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter to plead guilty in campaign corruption case
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GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter to plead guilty in campaign corruption case

GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter to plead guilty in campaign corruption case

GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter to plead guilty in campaign corruption case

After denying for over a year that he and his wife had illegally spent over $250,000 in campaign money for personal expenses like vacations, dinners, school tuition, and a variety of household uses, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) told a California television station on Monday that he will change his plea to 'guilty' in a Tuesday hearing before a federal judge in California.

“It’s important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids,” Hunter said in an interview with KUSI-TV., as the Congressman says he will plead guilty to one count of misusing campaign funds.

Tuesday's court hearing was originally set as a 'status' hearing on the corruption case, but in a docket posting on Monday, that suddenly had become a "Change of Plea Hearing" for the California Republican.

Back in June, the GOP Congressman's wife, Margaret Hunter, had changed her plea to 'guilty,' turning up the heat even more on the Republican Congressman from San Diego, who had long claimed a federal investigation into his campaign contributions was politically motivated.

"We are seeing this with President Trump, we are seeing this with my case," Hunter said, as he denounced the Justice Department investigation.

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GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter to change plea in campaign corruption case

"This is the new Department of Justice - this is the Democrats' arm of law enforcement," Hunter told reporters when he was arraigned, alleging political bias against a Republican by President Trump's Administration.

"The investigation of Congressman Hunter by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California began shortly after his public endorsement of candidate Trump," Hunter's lawyers wrote in one of a series of evidence challenges, alleging that two prosecutors involved in the case were supporters of Hillary Clinton.

But the facts of the case never bore out Hunter's claim - instead it showed how Hunter had used campaign money 'to carry out a series of intimate relationships' with a series of women who were not his wife.

+ Individual 14 - a lobbyist, 

+ Individual 15 - a staffer who worked in the office of a member of the House leadership, 

+ Individual 16 - a staffer in his Congressional office, 

+ Individual 17 - a lobbyist, 

+ Individual 18 - a lobbyist.

The evidence produced by federal investigators included a lengthy tally of how campaign money was spent on dinners, vacations, school tuition for Hunter's children, concerts, and a variety of personal items.

Hunter originally plead 'not guilty' back on August 23, 2018, when he was met by protesters outside the courthouse, who chanted, "Lock him up!"

Hunter would be the second early supporter in Congress of President Trump to plead guilty to major criminal charges - Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) resigned from Congress in September just before pleading guilty over insider trading allegations.

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

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Washington Insider

  • As President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his move to free ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), the President also renewed his attacks on fired FBI Director James Comey over the Blagojevich matter, even though Comey was not at the Justice Department or FBI when the Illinois Democrat was convicted of trying to get money for the U.S. Senate seat of Barack Obama in 2008. 'Rod Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat,' the President said, countering the evidence presented at trial by the feds in 2010 and 2011 'Another Comey and gang deal!' the President added in his tweet, mentioning Comey for a second straight day in relation to Blagojevich. Comey served as Deputy Attorney General in the George W. Bush Administration. He left in 2005, and did not return to the federal government until he was chosen for FBI Director eight years later in 2013. After Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison, the Justice Department noted his 'effort in 2008 to illegally trade the appointment of a United States Senator in exchange for $1.5 million in campaign contributions or other personal benefits.' It was not immediately clear why the President mentioned Comey for a second straight day, even though he was not involved in the investigation or prosecution of Blagojevich. 'It was a prosecution by the same people - Comey, Fitzpatrick - the same group,' the President told reporters on Tuesday, also naming former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who did lead the prosecution of Blagojevich. Mr. Trump has repeatedly denounced Comey since firing him in May of 2017, calling him a 'slimeball,' denouncing his handling of the Russia investigation, and Republicans have said Comey should be jailed. 'Mr. President,' Comey tweeted a week ago. 'I have never committed a crime, which is an important pre-req for jail in most countries, still including ours.