Rep. Duncan Hunter pleads guilty to misusing campaign funds

By Associated Press

GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter showed no emotion in the courtroom when he pleaded guilty to misusing campaign money in San Diego on Tuesday.

Outside federal court, the California congressman declined to say when he would leave office.

Prosecutor Phil Halpern noted Hunter’s honorable service in the Marine Corps and his place in a family that has been a Southern California political dynasty. But he had a sharp rebuke for the congressman’s claim that the investigation was a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

“No figure, regardless of what office they occupy, should be allowed in this country to cry 'witch hunt' or 'fake news' and attempt to deflect their criminal wrongdoings,” he said.

Halpern vowed to seek a prison term for Hunter of at least a year, although his plea agreement calls for up to five years.

Hunter, 42, changed his not guilty plea Tuesday. He had denied wrongdoing for more than a year.

He gave a brief statement outside court saying he failed to properly monitor campaign funds.

Prosecutors say he and his wife spent more than $250,000 in campaign money on personal expenses. Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty earlier this year and had agreed to testify against her husband.