Congressman, wife plead not guilty to illegal spending


Associated Press

SAN DIEGO

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter was swarmed by demonstrators yelling “shame on you!” as he left a federal courthouse Thursday in San Diego after pleading not guilty to charges of illegally using his campaign account for personal expenses.

The California Republican and his wife, Margaret, entered their pleas in federal court, where prosecutors said bond could be set low because the couple is living paycheck to paycheck. The judge agreed to set it at $15,000 for the congressman and at $10,000 for his wife. The court also required each bond be secured by the signature of a related, financially responsible adult.

After the arraignment, demonstrators holding signs that read “Duncan Hunter Ethics and Integrity Matter” and “Crooked Duncan Hunter” followed him as he walked to a pickup truck. He got in and removed a “Lock me up!” sign shoved onto the windshield as he was driven away. His wife was not seen leaving the courthouse after the arraignment.

A 60-count indictment unsealed Tuesday charges the couple used more than $250,000 to finance family trips to Italy and Hawaii, golf outings, school tuition, theater tickets and even fast-food purchases, and then attempted to conceal the illegal spending in federal records. The judge ordered the couple to not leave the United States and Hunter to hand over his two legally owned firearms.

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