Rep Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-Calif.) leaves Federal Court in San Diego on July 1, 2019, after a motions hearing. He has been indicted for alleged misuse of campaign funds.

Rep Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-Calif.) leaves Federal Court in San Diego on July 1, 2019, after a motions hearing. He has been indicted for alleged misuse of campaign funds. (John Gibbins/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

SAN DIEGO - Lawyers for Rep. Duncan Hunter asked a federal judge Tuesday to delay his political corruption trial so the Republican congressman from San Diego County can argue before an appeals court that the criminal charges should be dismissed.

The trial, which had been scheduled to start Sept. 10, will now take place Jan. 14, according to a ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan.

Hunter's lawyers are seeking a dismissal of charges that he spent more than $250,000 in campaign donations on girlfriends, family vacations, tuition for his children and other personal expenses.

Hunter defense attorney Gregory Vega filed a similar motion with Whelan last month arguing that Hunter's behavior was protected by the speech or debate clause of the Constitution, but the district court judge rejected the argument.

Hunter was indicted in August 2018 along with his wife, Margaret, on 60 counts of misusing campaign funds and covering up the crimes.

Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty to a single criminal charge last month and agreed to testify against her husband, who was reelected to a sixth term in Congress three months after the indictment.

Visit The San Diego Union-Tribune at www.sandiegouniontribune.com

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