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Duncan Hunter granted delayed start to prison sentence over coronavirus

Duncan Hunter granted delayed start to prison sentence over coronavirus
© Greg Nash

A federal judge has granted former Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan HunterIssa defeats Campa-Najjar in California House race DOJ veteran says he's quitting over Barr's 'slavish obedience' to Trump DCCC reserves new ad buys in competitive districts, adds new members to 'Red to Blue' program MORE (R-Calif.) a delay to starting his 11-month prison sentence due to the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan, a Clinton appointee, granted a motion Thursday saying the former congressman needs to surrender to serve his prison sentence before Jan. 4., 2021, according to NBC News.

The previous surrender date was May 29, NBC reported.

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Hunter's sentence, which includes three years of supervised probation, was handed down in March after he pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations. He stepped down from his congressional seat in January.

Prosecutors and Hunter’s attorney commended the judge's decision, saying it was appropriate “due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the unknown impacts the disease will have in the coming months," according to the news outlet. 

In exchange for the delay, Hunter agreed not to seek any sentence modifications, NBC reported, citing a court filing.

The delay in Hunter's jail time comes as the coronavirus has ravaged the U.S. prison system. Due to the close living quarters and asymptomatic inmates who can serve as carriers of the disease, prisons have become hotbeds for the COVID-19 outbreak.

Seventy percent of federal inmates who’ve been tested for the virus received positive results, according to the Bureau of Prisons. But only 2,700 inmates were tested, a fraction of the overall prison population.

Several other high-profile convicts have been granted leeway during the pandemic. Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represented adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in litigation against President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE, was temporarily released from prison due to concerns about the virus. 

Avenatti was convicted earlier this year for attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike.

Former Trump lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenPress: Trump's biggest fear is — lock him up Biden faces politically thorny decision on Trump prosecutions New York expands Trump tax fraud investigations to include write-offs: report MORE has also sought to serve his prison sentence in home confinement due to the pandemic.