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Tuesday, 03 December 2019 15:11

California congressman Hunter pleads guilty in corruption case

Written by Reuters
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SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, a leading California conservative, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a single federal charge of conspiring to misuse campaign funds in a corruption case that could help Democrats gain his traditionally Republican seat.

The felony offense carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, but his attorney has said prosecutors have agreed to recommend significantly less time than that. Sentencing was set for March 17.

Hunter, 42, a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran and early supporter of President Donald Trump, had originally pleaded not guilty in the case and insisted he was the victim of a politically motivated prosecution.

He appeared Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan in San Diego for a hearing lasting less than 10 minutes, calmly answering “guilty” when the judge asked for his plea to a single count of conspiring to convert campaign funds to personal use.

Pausing outside the courthouse afterward, Hunter, dressed in a dark suit and tie, told a throng of reporters, “I made mistakes and that’s what today was all about.”

Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted in 2018 on charges of misappropriating $250,000 in campaign donations to pay for personal expenses, including their children’s private school tuition, lavish travel, expensive meals at restaurants, groceries and clothing.

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