The news from Hunter’s defense team comes less than two weeks before his sentencing hearing. It followed the revelation that two of the U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted Hunter attended a fundraiser for then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2015.
At his still scheduled March 17 sentencing hearing, Hunter faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. (Law&Crime)
Hunter’s defense lawyers argued that the prosecutors were required to recuse themselves from his case because their attendance at the fundraiser constituted a conflict of interest and appearance of a loss of impartiality in accordance with the U.S. Attorney’s Manual.
“Here, the former Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of California and the Assistant US Attorney leading the investigation of Congressman Hunter both attended a political fundraiser for candidate Clinton and shortly thereafter both were involved in initiating an investigation of the first Congressman to endorse candidate Trump,” Hunter’s attorneys wrote. “The Defendant argued those facts alone warranted recusal.”
While Hunter’s attorneys were previously been denied on a similar motion to have the prosecutors removed based on the perceived conflict of interest, his defense team renewed the motion Tuesday, insisting they had learned new information that further illustrated Hunter’s prosecution was politically tainted.
The latest motion was based on emails obtained by conservative activist group Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Hunter’s attorney said these emails “confirm that the AUSAs who attended the fundraiser were not there on official business” and “disprove the Government’s claim that the AUSAs were at the fundraiser for a legitimate law enforcement purpose.”
Hunter’s estranged wife, Margaret, also admitted to misusing campaign funds, which included taking a $10,000 trip to Italy. Her guilty plea – one count of conspiring with her husband – preceded the former congressman’s guilty plea.