California Rep. Duncan Hunter said he plans to plead guilty to misusing campaign funds and is prepared to go to jail, a stunning turn of events for the six-term Republican who had steadfastly denied wrongdoing and claimed he was the victim of a political witch hunt.
Duncan Hunter’s attorneys filed for a change of plea hearing, which Judge Thomas Whelan set for Tuesday at 10 a.m. in a federal courtroom in San Diego.
Hunter wants to avoid a trial and spare his three children from the ensuing publicity, his lawyer Paul Pfingst told NBC 7.
The congressman, who was re-elected last year after being indicted and was campaigning for a seventh term next year, indicated he will leave office but did not say when.
An early supporter of President Donald Trump, Hunter said he will plead guilty to one count of misuse of campaign funds. Federal prosecutors charged he and his wife with 60 criminal counts, saying they spent more than $250,000 in campaign money for golf outings, plane tickets and a family vacation to Italy. They also said the money went to household items and airline tickets for their pet rabbit.
Prosecutors revealed salacious details about the congressman’s lifestyle, saying some money was used by Hunter to further romantic relationships with lobbyists and congressional aides.
Margaret Hunter has already pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and, as part of her plea deal, has agreed to testify against her husband.