By Ken Stone
For at least the fifth time, sentencing is being delayed for the wife of former Rep. Duncan D. Hunter for her part in their campaign fund misuse case.
A joint motion by Margaret Hunter’s attorneys and the local Justice Department asks a federal judge to reset the current June 8 hearing to July 6 — again the result of the pandemic.
Earlier dates for her sentencing on one count of conspiracy had been Sept. 16, Dec. 2, April 6-7 and May 4.The request filed Wednesday noted how San Diego’s chief U.S. District judge on May 15 extended “the judicial emergency for an additional period of 30 days” as “[m]any of the circumstances giving rise to the judicial emergency have not abated.”
“In order to protect public safety and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, the parties jointly request that Margaret Hunter’s sentence be continued,” the motion said.
Hunter faces up to five years in prison but is expected to receive a lighter sentence thanks to her role in helping with evidence against the former Alpine Republican congressman.
Government lawyers teamed with Margaret Hunter’s attorneys — Thomas W. McNamara and Logan D. Smith — to “respectfully move jointly to request a continuance of Ms. Hunter’s sentencing hearing to July 6, 2020 (9:00 a.m.) or as soon thereafter as is convenient for the court.”
The July date means her sentencing will come more than a year after she changed her plea to guilty June 13, 2019, to using campaign credit cards on family vacations, restaurant and bar tabs, clothes and other frivolous expenses over the course of several years.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan is expected to grant the motion for Margaret Hunter, who like her husband has been free on bond.
Duncan Hunter is set to surrender Jan. 4, 2021, to serve an 11-month sentence.
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