Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell faces charges over gifts

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Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, once a rising star in the Republican Party who was considered potential presidential material, has been indicted along with his wife on federal charges of accepting illegal gifts.

The 14-count indictment, culminating a lengthy investigation of their relationship with a Virginia business executive, alleges honest services fraud, false statements, obstruction.

Gifts valued at a minimum of $140,000 in total included designer clothes, a Rolex watch, golf clubs, iPhones and a painting, according to a list of items included in the indictment.

McDonnell, who in a statement denied any illegal conduct and called the charges federal government overreach, was elected in 2009 and left office earlier this month after serving one term, which is the limit in Virginia.

The federal probe involved the relationship between the governor and his wife, Maureen, with Jonnie Williams, the chief executive of a troubled nutritional supplement company, Star Scientific.

Authorities allege that Williams gave gifts and loans to the first family of Virginia, and that they promoted his company.

In his statement, McDonnell admitted to poor judgment.

“I deeply regret accepting legal gifts and loans from Mr. Williams, all of which have been repaid with interest, and I have apologized for my poor judgment for which I take full responsibility,” he said.

“However, I repeat emphatically that I did nothing illegal for Mr. Williams in exchange for what I believed was his personal generosity and friendship,” he added.

McDonnell added that he “never promised – and Mr. Williams and his company never received” any “government benefit” from him or his administration.

“We did not violate the law,” he said.

McDonnell’s successor, Terry McAuliffe, issued his own statement after the charges were filed.

“As this case progresses, it is my sincerest hope that justice will be served and that Virginians get the answers to which they are entitled,” he said. “As Governor, I will remain focused on leading this Commonwealth in a way that restores Virginians’ trust in government and honors their expectation of transparency and accountability.”

8 comments

  • Cripes A Mighty

    Can’t wait for him to be convicted and sent to prison where he will finally understand what government intrusion really means. For all of you who know why he was known as Governor Ultrasound, this is a perfect ending for him and the party for which he belonged.

  • JT

    I’m with you, Cripes. Can’t wait until the Republican Party (particularly the tea-bagger wing) self-destructs into political irrelevance. Give it another 5 years–at the rate they’re going, it may not take that long.

  • Bigjohn

    I will bet you there are a lot of governors in other states that are doing a very good house cleaning and cover up of the gifts they have received. To bad this type investigation cannot carry over to Washington. Our whole system of local, state and federal government has become a greedy corrupt system that needs change. One way to start is to have term limits in states and Washington, two terms for a senator and six terms for the House of Representatives and a signed agreement they will go back to their respective states and not be involved in lobbying.

    • Chucky1992

      It will never happen. The law makers will never make laws that make them comply with them or put limits on what they are allowed to do because there is not a lawful and moral majority in any local, state or federal governing body.

  • dewey

    you ain’t seen nothing yet….wait until Patty-boy gets those fracking machines fired up here in NC with no EPA oversight And again, just what was he doing on Duke Energy’s payroll while he was the mayor of Charlotte….a question that he still has yet to answer

    • JT

      Right on, dewey–after we implement fracking here, I give it 5 years before something like what just happened in West Virginia occurs here. Yet we will fight, fight, fight any form of government oversight because that threatens our “job creators.” So our water will be combustible, but hey, at least we have jobs, right?

  • dobydog1

    where was the indictment when the clintons did the same thing. actually what they took from the white house when they left was closer to $400,000 so they are even more quilty but then they are dems so they are exempt from the law.

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