Former California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter was sentenced Tuesday to 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing campaign funds and spending the money on everything from outings with friends to his daughter's birthday party, the AP reports. The ex-Marine's attorneys had asked for most or part of his sentence be spent in home confinement, citing his military service fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his nearly six terms in Congress. Hunter, 43, resigned from Congress in January after representing one of Southern California's last solidly Republican districts. But US District Court Judge Thomas J. Whelan said given the amount of money Hunter misspent and the number of years he carried out the pilfering, home confinement was not an option. The hearing was held despite many state and federal courts across California and the country all but shutting down or holding hearings by teleconference to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
Hunter and his wife Margaret, who was his campaign manager, were accused in a 60-count indictment of stealing more than $250,000 in campaign funds over the course of a decade and trying to hide it on financial disclosure records, listing some personal expenses as contributions to wounded warriors. The money bankrolled private school tuition for his children, his wife's shopping sprees, weekend trips with his mistress and parties in Washington, according to the indictment. Each pleaded guilty to a single count in separate plea agreements last year, and each had faced up to five years in prison. His wife, who was not present Tuesday, is scheduled to be sentenced April 7; Hunter asked the court Tuesday to spare the mother of his three children jail time. He was ordered to report to prison on May 29. Hours after the sentencing, the court's chief judge announced criminal proceedings, including sentencing hearings, would be suspended until April 16.
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