The trial date for Congressman Duncan Hunter on corruption charges has been delayed eight days to Jan. 22, closer to California’s March 3 primary to decide if the Republican lawmaker will advance in his bid for a seventh term.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan changed the date upon lawyers’ request, allowing an appeals court more time to rule on Hunter’s attempt to have the case dismissed. The appeals court entertains Dec. 12 oral arguments.
The judge says he wants Hunter’s trial done before the March primary.
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Hunter and his wife were indicted in August 2018 on charges that they used more than $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses ranging from groceries to golf trips and family vacations. Prosecutors have also said Hunter spent campaign money on a string of extramarital affairs.
On June 13, Margaret Hunter -- Hunter’s wife and former campaign manager -- entered a guilty plea to charges she misused campaign funds. Between 2010 and 2016, Margaret Hunter said she and her husband “knowingly and willingly” agreed to convert campaign funds to personal use, according to court documents.
Defense lawyers argued in July that the case should be dismissed because prosecutors were politically motivated and indicted the 42-year-old congressman only months before the 2018 election.
He is being challenged by former Congressman Darrell Issa, radio personality Carl DeMaio -- both Republicans -- and Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar.