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Former San Diego congressman Duncan Hunter seeks to delay federal prison term for misusing campaign funds

Lawyers for Hunter, who plead guilty to misusing $150K in election funds from 2010 to 2016, filed a motion to have his self-surrender date moved to January 2021.
Credit: AP
This Dec. 3, 2019 file photo shows California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter leaving federal court in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. —

Lawyers for Duncan Hunter filed a motion Tuesday to have the former San Diego congressman’s self-surrender date moved to next year. Hunter plead guilty in federal court in December 2019 to misusing $150,000 in campaign funds and resigned as congressman for the 50th District in January 2020In March, he was sentenced to 11 months in federal prison and was scheduled to surrender to authorities on May 29.  

This week’s court filing cites the COVID-19 pandemic and “unknown impacts the disease will have in the coming months” as the reason for the extension request 

Hunter’s motion goes on to say that if the United States District Court, Southern District of California agrees to move the date to January 4, 2021, the former congressman will not file a motion for sentencing modification or seek pre-surrender credit for home confinement to be applied to his 11-month term in custody.  

RELATED: Duncan Hunter resigns from Congress

RELATED: The 50TH: A scandal. A dynasty. An election.

RELATED: Rep. Duncan Hunter timeline | From replacing father in Congress to guilty plea in San Diego federal court

In his plea deal, Hunter said he and his wife, and former campaign manager, Margaret Hunter dipped into the election funds between 2010 and 2016 more than 30 times and tried to hide it by falsely reporting the expenses — from their daughter’s birthday party at the famed Hotel Del Coronado to an outing with friends in Washington at a French bistro — were campaign related. 

Margaret Hunter also plead guilty last year to misusing campaign funds. She was scheduled to be sentenced on Monday, but her court date was delayed until June 8 

The couple was charged in 2018 in a 60-count indictment.  

Despite the family bank account not carrying a positive balance throughout any single month between 2009 and 2017, prosecutors said the family lived extravagantly, racking up thousands on expensive family trips and scores of other improper personal purchases, according to a sentencing memorandum for Duncan Hunter. 
 
It was also alleged that Hunter used campaign funds to pursue extramarital affairs and repeatedly used campaign credit cards or sought reimbursement for expenses that included resort hotel rooms, airfare, a skiing trip and Uber rides to and from the homes of five women with whom he had "intimate relationships." 

Who will fill the 50th District congressional seat vacated by Hunter will be decided in November. Former U.S. Rep Darrell Issa – a Republican –  and Democrat Ammar Campa-Najja received the most votes in the March primary election. The 50th District encompasses most of east San Diego County and a portion of Riverside County. 

A “Declaration of Surety” included with the filing submitted Tuesday by Duncan Hunter’s lawyers was signed by his father Duncan Lee Hunter, also a former congressman for East County San Diego.