Politics

Duncan Hunter Trial Pushed Until After Election Day

New discovery, hearing mean California Republican will face voters before jurors

The trial of Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., will not begin until after Election Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The federal trial of Rep. Duncan Hunter will not begin before Election Day, as originally planned, which means the California Republican will face the voters under the cloud of a criminal proceedings.

Hunter’s trial on charges that he and his wife allegedly misused $250,000 in campaign funds will begin Nov. 22.

The trial was expected to start on Nov. 1, which fell within the 70 days since the indictment was first filed. But new discovery material and a hearing scheduled for Sept. 24 has pushed the 70-day deadline back to Nov. 22. Federal Judge Thomas J. Whelan denied a request for Hunter to not appear at a hearing on Sept. 24, saying that “he need[ed] to be treated like everyone else.”

The House is not scheduled to be in session on Sept. 24. 

Hunter was met by protesters outside the San Diego federal courthouse Tuesday where he was due at a hearing on the 60 federal charges against him and his wife, Margaret.

The couple were indicted by a federal grand jury in late August for allegedly using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses and covering their tracks in campaign finance filings to the Federal Election Commission. They both pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment days later.

Despite Hunter’s legal trouble, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales still rates the race Likely Republican. His Democratic challenger, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is releasing a 30-second ad Thursday that highlights details in Hunter’s federal indictment and encourages voters to read it for themselves.

In a tweet Monday, President Donald Trump lashed out at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the recent indictments against Hunter and New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins.

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