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Prosecutors get more space to document former Rep. Duncan Hunter’s crimes

Then-Rep. Duncan Hunter leaves the courthouse complex in San Diego
Then-Rep. Duncan Hunter leaves the courthouse complex after he appeared in Federal Court in San Diego in September 2019.
(John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Federal prosecutors received a court’s approval this week for extra space in a public memorandum, which they requested to provide an “expansive factual summary” of the criminal conduct for which former Rep. Duncan Hunter is to be sentenced later this month.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas J. Whelan granted a motion that prosecutors filed Friday asking to exceed any page limits for their sentencing memorandum, if they need extra space to recount Hunter’s crimes. Prosecutors said an expansive factual summary was necessary to counter Hunter’s public statements downplaying his culpability and shifting blame to others, including his wife.

Defense lawyers also will be allowed to file a memorandum longer than the usual 25 pages, according to the ruling Monday.

Hunter pleaded guilty on Dec. 3 to one count of conspiracy to illegally convert campaign money to personal use.

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One of his lawyers argued last week that Hunter had clearly taken responsibility for the crime, so the judge should reject prosecutors’ request.

Defense lawyer Devin Burstein also said the court already has all the information necessary to hand down a sentence at a hearing scheduled for March 17.

The disgraced former lawmaker faces up to five years in prison, but is expected to receive far less time in custody, based on recommendations in the plea agreement with prosecutors.

The plea agreement resolved a 60-count indictment filed against Hunter and his wife and former campaign manager, Margaret, in August 2018 after a sweeping campaign finance investigation. The two were accused of using more than $250,000 in campaign money for personal expenses including oral surgery, tuition to their children’s private school, tequila shots, an Italian vacation, Duncan Hunter’s getaways with girlfriends and more.

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Last June, as part of a separate plea deal with prosecutors, Margaret Hunter admitted to a single count of conspiracy and agreed to testify against her husband. She also faces up to five years in prison when she is sentenced in April but is expected to receive less time behind bars.

Hunter resigned from Congress in January, six weeks after he pleaded guilty.


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