SAN DIEGO — The estranged wife of former U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter has filed for divorce after 22 years of marriage and more than a year of separation amid a corruption prosecution that netted them both felony convictions.
Margaret Hunter is seeking a divorce because of “irreconcilable differences,” and requests joint legal custody of their two minor daughters, ages 17 and 14, according to court records filed Nov. 20 in San Diego Superior Court. She seeks physical custody of their daughters and reasonable visitation with their father, according to court records.
Their son is an adult.
She also asked the court to award her spousal support and attorneys fees and costs to be paid by her husband, who is a former Republican congressman from California.
The divorce filings do not include any details about the “irreconcilable differences” that ended the marriage. An attorney for Margaret said she had no comment. A spokesman for Duncan Hunter did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
Duncan Hunter has been living with his mother and father, former Rep. Duncan Lee Hunter, in Alpine. The divorce records say Margaret and their daughters have lived in La Mesa since the couple separated in August 2019.
Duncan, 44, and Margaret Hunter, 45, were indicted in federal court in August 2018 for allegedly using more than $250,000 in his campaign funds for personal purposes. Margaret had been Duncan’s campaign manager.
Both initially pleaded not guilty then separately changed their pleas last year, with each admitting to one felony count of conspiring to illegally convert campaign money to personal use.
Duncan Hunter told a Fox News reporter shortly after the indictment that he had given his wife power of attorney when he was deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps in 2003, and she handled his finances after that.
“She was also the campaign manager,” he told Fox. “So whatever she did, that will be looked at, too, I’m sure. But I didn’t do it.”
The indictment and other court records prosecutors filed in Duncan Hunter’s case before he pleaded guilty last year suggested he carried on extramarital affairs with at least five women — three lobbyists, a staff member and a congressional aide — and used his campaign money to pay for weekend getaways and other outings with them, starting in 2009. None of the women were named in court records.
Margaret Hunter cooperated with prosecutors during their investigation, and they agreed to seek a lighter sentence. She was sentenced in August to three years of probation and eight months of house arrest, which she began serving immediately.
Duncan Hunter was sentenced in March to 11 months in prison, which he is scheduled to begin serving Jan. 4. His lawyer said he will do his time at the Federal Correctional Institute La Tuna in Anthony, Texas.
He resigned from his seat representing the 50th District in Congress in January 2019. In November, former Rep. Darrell Issa was elected to his vacant seat.
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