Hunters plead not guilty at their arraignment

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Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter Jr., 43, and his wife Margaret Hunter, 41, pleaded not guilty to 60 counts of conspiracy to commit offenses, wire fraud, falsification of records and prohibited use of campaign funds totaling more than $250,000, at their arraignment this morning  in a downtown San Diego federal courthouse.
U.S. Attorney prosecutors allege that from 2010 to 2017 the Hunters spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds on everything from a family vacation to Italy to household utility bills.

 

Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter Jr., 43, and his wife Margaret Hunter, 41, pleaded not guilty to 60 counts of conspiracy to commit offenses, wire fraud, falsification of records and prohibited use of campaign funds totaling more than $250,000, at their arraignment this morning  in a downtown San Diego federal courthouse.

U.S. Attorney prosecutors allege that from 2010 to 2017 the Hunters spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds on everything from a family vacation to Italy to household utility bills.
According to the government’s complaint the couple also racked up $37,761 in overdraft and insufficient funds bank fees, indicating the Hunters had financial trouble despite the congressman’s $175,000 annual salary.
The couple arrived to the U.S. District Courthouse separately on a sunny morning and did not sit together during the arraignment in front of Judge Judge William Gallo.
When Congressman Hunter arrived, he was greeted by protestors holding signs that read “Silly Dirty Duncan Ethics are For Everyone! Resign Now!” and “Flip Congress 2018”.
Hunter is running for re-election in November.
Gallo set Duncan Hunter Jr.’s bail at $15,000 and Margaret Hunter’s bail at $10,000.
The Hunters cannot currently travel outside of the continental United States and Congressman Hunter must give up the two firearms he owns by Monday.
Assistant U.S. attorney Phillip Halpern told the judge that the Hunters do not appear to be flight risks.
About an hour after the arraignment Hunter exited the courthouse and was met by protestors chanting “Shame!”. They followed him to the street where he got into a waiting car. At one point, Hunter reached out the vehicle window and grabbed one of the protestor’s signs.
During the hour following the arraignment in which Hunter was still inside the U.S. District Courthouse his Democratic opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar showed up and addressed  protestors and the press.
Campa-Najjar thanked Congressman Hunter for his service to the country and said “Duncan Hunter served our country honorably abroad and I happen to think that man served our country and never made it home from the battlefield, and I think Washington chewed him up and spat him out, and engulfed him in the corruption.”
Though the congressman did not make any public remarks after the hearing his campaign made available a letter he wrote to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. The letter stated Hunter would temporarily step down from congressional committees— the House Committees on Armed Services, Education and the Workforce, Transportation and Infrastructure— on which he is serving.
“I fully intend to resume my position as an active member of these committees upon a successful resolution of pending legal matters,” the letter reads.
However, in a statement issued by Ryan’s office Aug. 21 it appeared Hunter was on his way to being removed from those committees.
“The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious. The Ethics Committee deferred its investigation at the request of the Justice Department. Now that he has been indicted, Rep. Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments pending the resolution of this matter,” wrote Ryan’s office.
Hunter has maintained he will not resign his seat in Congress.
The Hunters next scheduled court date is Tuesday Sept. 4 at 9 a.m.
Hunters plead not guilty at their arraignment

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