By Ken Stone
Resigned Rep. Duncan Hunter will hear his fate Tuesday as scheduled — even with federal courts including Judge Thomas Whelan’s in San Diego expected to draw more than 10 people.
Monday in Washington, President Trump announced White House guidance that Americans avoid groups of more than 10 and urged older people to stay at home.
It wasn’t immediately clear how that would affect judges like Whelan, who turned 80 last month.
But Devin Burstein, a Hunter attorney, said Monday that Hunter’s motion and sentencing hearing is “going forward tomorrow.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office later confirmed this.
Prosecutors have asked Whelan to impose a 14-month prison sentence on the former Republican congressman from Alpine. In their own sentencing memo, Hunter’s attorneys have asked for 11 months of home confinement.
Hunter pleaded guilty in December to a federal charge of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds for personal use. The 50th District representative resigned Jan. 13 in the middle of his sixth term.
Tuesday’s 9 a.m. hearing in downtown Courtroom 3C will include arguments over a defense motion to dismiss Hunter’s indictment or recuse the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s Office on account of prosecutorial prejudice against Hunter.
On Monday, NPR reported that federal courthouses have been postponing trials and moving courtroom hearings to video conferences.
“The most dramatic effect so far on the federal judiciary was the Supreme Court’s decision Monday to postpone oral arguments scheduled through April 1,” said NPR, noting that 94 district courts and 13 circuit courts are devising their own rules.
“There is no blanket decision that covers all district and circuit courts,” NPR’s Ryan Lucas wrote. “Instead, each is crafting its own response in coordination with state and local health officials.”
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