Hunter’s Wife Pleads Guilty To Campaign Finance Fraud, Will Cooperate With Prosecutors

SAN DIEGO, CA-AUG 23: Congressman Duncan Hunter walks into the San Diego Federal  Courthouse for an arraignment hearing on Thursday, August 23, 2018 in San Diego, CA.  Hunter and his wife Margaret are accused of using more than 250,00 in campaign funds for personal use.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images North America

Margaret Hunter, the wife of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds and has agreed to cooperate with the prosecution under a new plea deal.

Hunter and her husband had pleaded not guilty in August 2018 to charges that they’d both misused $250,000 dollars in campaign donations for personal use, including on flights for the congressman’s pet rabbit.

Now Margaret Hunter is reversing and pleaded guilty to a single conspiracy count in federal court on Thursday, for which she faces up to five years in prison.

Per the plea agreement document, Hunter has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and provide them with “substantial assistance,” including interviews and court testimonies.

The agreement states that the couple spent “substantially more than they earned” between 2010 and 2016, the period during which they allegedly misused campaign finances. It reached the point where “they both recognized that they would be unable to pay for basic living expenses like gas and groceries without incurring additional overdraft fees.”

Margaret Hunter is scheduled to be sentenced on September 1.

“At this time, that does not change anything regarding Congressman Hunter,” the GOP lawmaker’s defense attorney, Gregory Vega, told the San Diego Tribune. “There are still significant motions that need to be litigated.”

Several days after the couple was slapped with the co-indictment, the congressman tried to put the blame squarely on his wife’s shoulders–on national TV, no less.

“She was also the campaign manager. So whatever she did, that will be looked at, too, I’m sure,” Hunter said during a Fox News interview. “But I didn’t do it.”

Read the plea agreement below:

This story has been updated to include the plea agreement document.

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