SAN DIEGO (AP) — The wife of U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter is planning to change her not-guilty plea in a federal corruption case alleging that she and her husband, a close ally of President Donald Trump, spent more than $250,000 in campaign funds on vacations and other personal expenses.
Margaret Hunter, who worked as her husband’s campaign manager, was scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday to change her plea. It’s unclear what the change will be or what it could mean for the congressman.
The couple pleaded not guilty last year after a federal grand jury in San Diego indicted them on charges of using campaign cash on trips to Italy and Hawaii, golf outings, school tuition, theater tickets and other personal expenses between 2009 and 2016.
They also are accused of trying to conceal the illegal spending in federal documents.
Hunter was one of two Republican federal lawmakers to win re-election last November after being indicted on corruption charges. He is scheduled to go on trial in September and has said his wife handled his finances.
Hunter, an Iraq War veteran, was one of the first GOP lawmakers to support Trump before his election and recently has championed dismissal of a war crimes case against a decorated Navy SEAL, which the president has considered.
Lawyers for Hunter have called the allegations against their client a political witchhunt.
Attorney Gregory Vega, a former U.S. attorney defending the congressman, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Margaret Hunter’s decision to change her plea should have no impact on his client’s case.
The Associated Press could not immediately reach Vega for comment Wednesday. Margaret Hunter’s lawyers also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The couple have entered federal court in San Diego separately with their own attorneys to attend hearings and also have left separately.
Hunter represents the 50th District that covers largely inland areas of San Diego County and runs into Riverside County. His father served nearly three decades as the congressman in one of the few safely Republican congressional districts in California.