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Judge will soon rule on dismissal in governor’s former chef embezzlement case

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The former executive chef at the Virginia Executive Mansion was in court Monday afternoon asking that charges against him to be dropped.

Todd Schneider, 52, faces four felony counts of embezzlement.

Schneider’s Attorney, Stephen Benjamin, argued before Judge Margaret P. Spencer that because Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has recused himself from the case citing a conflict of interest, the charges should be dropped since it was Cuccinelli’s office that first charged Schneider.

Cuccinelli says a conflict did not arise until the defense listed Governor Bob McDonnell as a possible witness.

Spencer is expected to issue a written ruling by the end of the week.

[CLICK HERE to read entire PDF.]

“Just because it’s a conflict of interest doesn’t that mean their indictments should be dismissed,” CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said. “In fact, rarely, if ever does that happen. And the law says the indictments are just accusations, so that is just what briefs them before the court. They still have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Schneider also filed legal motions of his own that said that Governor Bob McDonnell and his family also took food and other goods from the Executive Mansion.

Monday we heard for the first time from one of Governor McDonnell’s lawyers, Tony Troy.

Troy said that McDonnell’s legal team recently completed a review of McDonnell family finances to determine if McDonnell children took any tax payer purchased items from the Governor Mansion back to college with them.

“We did a detailed analysis of the foods that was taken back to college – it was very minimal – less than 25 dollars.,” Troy said.

But documents obtained by CBS 6 show that the number is a bit higher. Last week the governor’s office conducted a review that said the governor owed the state about $2400 dollars for supplies taken by his children back to college. The Governor wrote the check on July 5, 2013 for that amount.

Troy also argued a point that Schneider lawyers have been making in court, that the Governor and his family compelled his staff to perform duties for their personal gain.

“Look at the job description,” Troy said. “The job is beyond just feeding the first family its providing meals for all events held at the mansion,” Troy said.

Governor Bob McDonnell reacted to news by telling CBS 6 “I believe in the justice system and I believe the judge will make the right decision in the case.”

If the judge rejects the dismissal argument, the trial is slated to begin in October.

 

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