Lawyers for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) filed a motion Monday to dismiss federal charges of mis-using campaign funds, arguing that a newly-released Secret Service email suggests prosecutors were acting out of political motives.
Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted last year. Though both proclaimed their innocence, Margaret Hunter accepted a plea deal earlier this month, pleading guilty to one charge of corruption in exchange for her cooperation.
Rep. Hunter has long maintained, however, that he has been the victim of a political witch hunt. His lawyers now say they have the proof: an email produced as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. They note that three federal prosecutors — including two directly involved in prosecuting Hunter — attended a fundraiser in La Jolla, California, for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in August 2015. They did not make a political contribution.
Hunter’s attorneys asked the government last July for the prosecutors — First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily W. Allen — to be recused from the investigation, before any charges were filed. The government replied that the prosecutors had been at the event “in their official capacity assisting law enforcement.”
However, a FOIA request to the Secret Service produced an email from the Secret Service that provides the prosecutors with directions to a photo opportunity at the event with Clinton. Hunter’s lawyers say the email “conclusively proves that … Robinson and Allen attended the Clinton fundraiser for partisan political reasons to support and obtain a photo with candidate Clinton.” That, they say, “established without question” the prosecutors “that initiated the investigation had a glaring conflict of interest and loss of impartiality that is intended to separate federal prosecutors from politically influenced decisions.” Hunter, the filing notes, was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump in 2016.
The lawyers say that Hunter’s Fifth Amendment right to due process of law has been violated — and therefore, they argue, the charges against him should be dismissed.
Former Rep. Darrell Issa (D-CA), who retired this year and whose swing district was won by left-wing Democrat Mike Levin, is reported to be considering a run for Hunter’s east San Diego County seat if the incumbent is forced to step down.
Update: Prosecutors responded with a filing Monday evening accusing Rep. Hunter of using his campaign funds for personal expenses, including romantic affairs, according to Politico.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.