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Ex-Congressman Duncan Hunter to serve prison sentence at West Texas camp

Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. leaves the courthouse complex after he appeared in Federal Court in San Diego on Monday, Sept. 24 for a status hearing on his case. Hunter will likely report to prison next year, several months beyond his original May report date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

Former Rep. Duncan Hunter, who was convicted of misusing campaign funds, will serve his 11-month federal prison sentence at Federal Correctional Institute La Tuna in Anthony, Texas, according to his attorney Devin Burstein.

The California Republican will report to the federal prison’s adjacent minimum-security satellite camp on Jan. 4, 2021.

“He is designated to FCI La Tuna,” Burstein said in an email when asked if he knew whether Hunter plans to report to authorities and where.

Hunter was initially scheduled to begin his time in custody in May, but that surrender date was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hunter was convicted of spending more than $150,000 in campaign funds on personal uses. He spent campaign money on a plethora of personal endeavors, including extramarital affairs, tobacco and a late-night bachelor party in Washington.

FCI La Tuna is located in West Texas near El Paso. It is just under a 10-hour drive from Hunter’s hometown of Alpine, California.

Alan Ellis, a federal criminal defense lawyer who writes the Federal Prison Guidebook, said although FCI La Tuna is far from Southern California, Hunter is somewhat fortunate because he won’t have to serve time in closer Bureau of Prison facilities, such as MDC Los Angeles, an administrative security metropolitan detention center that hosts a wide variety of inmates, some of whom are considered dangerous.

Although it is Bureau of Prisons policy to send a prisoner to a facility within 500 miles of their home, Ellis said he suspects Hunter was sent to Texas to get him away from his “sphere of influence.” He added that this can be a practice for high-profile individuals like Hunter.

FCI La Tuna has 737 total inmates: 586 at the correctional institution and 151 at the adjacent camp where Hunter will serve his time, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Ellis said Hunter will be assigned a job, and the former lawmaker will likely experience a boring, nonviolent time in custody.

“There’s no violence at camps,” he said. “If you so much as look cross eyed at another inmate, they’re going to put one or both of you in a housing unit until they figure out what’s happening and one or both of you will be transferred to another facility.”


(c) 2020 CQ-Roll Call

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