San Diego

Rep. Duncan Hunter's Trial Slated for January 2020

The judge set the new trial date as Jan. 14, 2020.

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter's trial on corruption charges will begin in early 2020.  The start of the trial has been postponed while Hunter's attorneys appeal a San Diego judge's refusal to dismiss the case.

Attorneys for the California lawmaker asked the same federal judge on Tuesday to push the trial back so the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals can rule, according to court documents they filed.

Both sides had agreed to an October trial date but due to scheduling, U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan set the new trial date as Jan. 14, 2020.

Hunter and his wife were indicted in August of 2018 on charges 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.

The Marine combat veteran has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty this summer to one corruption count and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Defense lawyers argued in July before U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan that the case should be dismissed because prosecutors were politically motivated and got the 42-year-old congressman indicted only months before the 2018 election.

Duncan Hunter's lawyers say if a trial happens it should be moved to a congressional district that is more Republican-friendly.

Whelan said Duncan Hunter — a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump — easily won re-election to a sixth term after being indicted and therefore he should be able to be tried fairly here. He also disagreed prosecutors were on a political hunt and refused to toss the case.

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