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|September 25, 2020|
Former congressman faces deadline to report to prison
SAN DIEGO - A judge sentenced former Rep. Duncan Hunter to 11 months in federal prison this week closing a case that began nearly four years ago with questions about stolen campaign funds, and ending the once-promising career of the scion of an East County political family.
Hunter’s former district includes a portion of southwest Riverside County around Temecula.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan gave Hunter until May 29th to report to a federal prison. The judge left open the possibility that date could change in light of evolving circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 11-month sentence is in the middle of the 8-to-14-month range called for by federal sentencing rules under terms of the plea bargain struck by Hunter and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Hunter’s lawyers had asked for a sentence that would not result in the former congressman going to prison, such as probation or home arrest. They brought up his military service as a Marine.
Whelan rejected that request.
Hunter, dressed in a blue suit, white shirt and tie, sat upright and listened impassively for nearly an hour as lawyers made their arguments to Whelan. He then stood up and briefly addressed the judge.
The Alpine lawmaker said he took full responsibility for the illegal use of the campaign funds and said it had been an honor to serve in the military and Congress.
Then he asked Whelan to “take sympathy” on his wife, Margaret. She has pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy charge as her husband and is scheduled to be sentenced April 7.
Hunter pleaded guilty in December to a felony conspiracy charge, one of 60 counts in an August 2018 indictment that also named his wife who was his former campaign manager, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.
Story Date: March 26, 2020