Margaret Hunter Sentenced To Eight Months Home Confinement
Last updated 9/4/2020 at 12:59pm
Margaret Hunter, the wife of former Rep. Duncan Hunter, was sentenced to eight months of home confinement and three years probation on Aug. 24 for the misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal use.
Her eight-month sentence of home confinement has already begun.
Prosecutors sought to have her home confinement delayed until January 2021, as they stated it would be more punitive then, as the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping many at home at this time. However, U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan opted to begin her term immediately.
In court, prior to sentencing, Margaret Hunter shared a brief and tearful statement saying, “I continue to take full responsibility. I’m deeply sorry.”
She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with her husband to misuse of funds and accepted a plea deal to testify against him. Despite testifying against her husband and initially blaming her for the then-alleged crimes, Duncan Hunter had asked for his wife to face no prison time.
Judge Whelan lauded Margaret Hunter’s “remarkable cooperation” in sparing her jail time.
Without her cooperation, prosecutors would have likely had to go to trial in order to secure a conviction against him.
The Hunter’s were charged in 2018 in a 60-count indictment, which alleged they unlawfully used campaign funds for personal use ranging from family vacations, clothes, restaurant tabs and more.
In their lavish spending, they were in dire financial straits, overdrawing their bank account more than 1,100 times over a seven-year period.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Allen said Margaret Hunter spent most of the funds, but her role was “far less egregious” compared to her husband, and noted he was “the driving force” behind the crime. Allen added that because he was the person in charge of the campaign and decision maker, Duncan Hunter allowed this all to happen.
Duncan Hunter pled guilty in December 2019, and was sentenced in March 2020 to 11 months in prison and three years of parole. His surrender date was originally slated for May 29. However, due to COVID-19, he has yet to begin any of his term as the efforts to reduce prison crowding during the pandemic. Judge Whelan grated the request to delay the surrender to Jan. 4, 2021.
His lawyers argued for a lesser sentence, and asked for him to serve the 11 months at home and complete 1,000 hours of community service, but this was denied.
Duncan Hunter, who was first elected to the seat in 2008, stepped down from his congressional committee assignments in 2018. However, he still won re-election for the 50th Congressional District seat over Ammar Campa-Najjar amid the charges, public allegations and despite being indicted three months prior.
He submitted his resignation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Governor Gavin Newsom in January of this year. The seat remained vacant since then, with no special election.
Campa-Najjar and Darrell Issa look to fill the vacant seat in the November election.