According to his lawyer, Paul Pfingst, on Tuesday Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) will plead guilty to a conspiracy count as part of a plea bargain in his criminal campaign finance case, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.
In 2018 the Republican lawmaker and his wife, Margaret, were charged with 60 criminal counts connected to allegedly improperly using over $200,000 in campaign funds. Prior to the plea, Hunter was facing decades behind bars if found guilty on all charges. Details of the plea have not yet been disclosed. Margaret pled guilty to a conspiracy back in June.
On Monday, Hunter told KUSI News that concern for his children was a motivating factor to take a plea. “It’s important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids,” he said.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, which has done extensive reporting on the multiple accusations against the Hunters, the couple’s alleged crimes comprise a list of illegalities that is so extensive it’s almost comical.
The Hunters allegedly used campaign funds for:
- Healthcare, including dental bills
- Fast food
- Home repairs
- Vacation expenses
- Travel overseas to visit family
- School tuition
The couple also allegedly used $500 in campaign funds to fly their pet rabbit named Eggburt to accompany them on a trip across the country. Hunter was also accused of using the funds illegally while having extramarital affairs with five women.
The congressman also blamed one of his sons for purchasing video games, claiming the mix-up happened because both credit cards were blue. Additionally, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, court files show text messages between the couple that reveal Margaret telling Duncan to purchase Hawaiian shorts that were too expensive for the family to afford and to tell the congressman’s treasurer the purchase was connected to helping veterans.
Hunter labeled the Union-Tribune’s reporting as “fake news,” and when federal prosecutors were conducting their criminal investigation, he said it was the work of a “deep state” conspiracy against him.