Bob McDonnell, former First Lady plead not guilty

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR/CNN) - "C'mon guys, give us some respect."

Bob McDonnell chided reporters who crowded the former Virginia governor and his wife as they exited the U.S. Federal Courthouse on East Broad Street in downtown Richmond Friday morning.

The McDonnells had just entered not guilty pleas to federal charges that they accepted illegal gifts. The judge released the McDonnells on their own recognizance and set trial for July 28.

The trial is expected to last five to six weeks. The defense is asking for 10 days to present its case and the prosecution asked for 15.

During the hearing, the judge sternly lectured the McDonnells to remain clear of the media prior to trial.

The McDonnells arrived at the courthouse about 9:15 a.m. They appeared before two judges Friday morning. At a 10 a.m. initial hearing, bond was discussed. An arraignment followed at 11 a.m.

Virginia House Speaker William Howwell (R - Stafford) and Del. Kirk Cox (R - Chesterfield) came to court Friday to support the former First Family.

"It's great to have support of family and friends," Bob McDonnell told Joe St. George outside of court.

About 1,000 feet.

The Executive Mansion on Capitol Square and the U.S. Federal Courthouse on East Broad Street in downtown Richmond sit just a few blocks apart.

For four years, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen called the Executive Mansion home. Today, the couple returned to the old neighborhood.

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The Indictment

Earlier the week, the McDonnells were indicted in connection to their relationship with a political donor.

Following Tuesday's indictment, Bob McDonnell maintained that he and his family did nothing illegal by accepting gifts and loans from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

“While I deeply regret accepting these legal gifts and loans from Mr. Williams, all of these now have been returned or repaid with interest.”

Reading from a prepared statement, McDonnell apologized for using “poor judgment” when he accepted “legal gifts and loans,” but said his public service has been wrongfully attacked.

The McDonnells were indicted on a combined 14 counts including Honest-Services Wire Fraud, Obtaining Property under Color of Official Right, making False Statement, and Obstruction of Official Proceedings.

The McDonnells “participated in a scheme,” from April 2011 through March 2013,  to use Bob McDonnell’s “official position as the Governor of Virginia to enrich the defendants and their family members by soliciting and obtaining payments, loans, gifts, and other things of value from JW and Star Scientific in exchange for Bob McDonnell and the Office of the Governor performing official actions on an as-needed basis, as opportunities arose, to legitimize, promote, and obtain research studies for Star Scientific’s products, including Anatabloc®,” according to the indictment.

An earlier probe uncovered evidence that Williams had given the governor and his family more than $150,000 in gifts and loans over an 18-month period. Such gifts included Rolex watches, family vacations, loans for McDonnell’s real estate business, and even a $15,000 check to his daughter for her wedding.

The indictment indicated the McDonnells “took steps throughout that time to conceal the scheme.”


  • Glen Allen

    I wonder who he “borrowed” the money from to pay back these gifts / loans? I also wonder about the timing of their return, and why he returned them if he believed he received them legally.

    Sounds more like the bank robber that gives the money back after he is caught, then expects to walk free. I also find it queer that a man would accept such lavish gifts for himself and his family, from a man he has known for such a short time.

    For the record, I do believe he ran a good administration that did good things for the Commonwealth, but one does not justify the other, because we paid him to do a good job.

  • issatrue

    Odd the media priority of the Republican Governor Scandal versus
    the current Scandals of the Democratic AG, Democratic Mayor.
    Democratic DOInjustice, and Democratic President.
    Media is The Correct Party Informercial.

  • Justice

    Mcdonnell hasn’t even bothered to update his address of record with the Virginia State Bar. The State Bar website still lists him as the Governor of Virginia and his contact information as of 1/24/14 is not correct.

  • ttscook

    Mr. McDonnell, conceding the point that all this is “legal” – which is isn’t BTW – you intentionally misreported your financial standing/ obligations/sources of funds/investments. Dude, it doesn’t matter if you’ve given them back NOW or repaid them with interest NOW, the fact that you don’t understand this is even more evidence that you are, quite simply, morally bankrupt. You are like the thief that’s sorry they’ve been caught.

    Jonnie Williams has been outconned by two grifters and when he realized he’d been played, he was more than happy to help investigators, IMHO.

    • athynz

      Actually it is not illegal according to VA State law – which should take presidence here considering that 1) the state did not press charges or indictment and 2) everything was paid back prior to the federal indictment.

  • Glen Allen

    McDonnell could simply not help himself, even after the indictment, he used his political fame to issue a press conference, so that he could tell his one-sided story. This is not a “republican” thing or a “Democrat” thing, this is about one self-centered, greedy man, that feels he is above the law. A bully.

  • issatrue

    Odd Timmy Kaine & Mark Warner hide and kept really quiet, under party/media protections from any and all scrutiny.
    Boy! That part-time Gov/DNC chair that helped Obama orchestrate
    the Derailment another Governor and Wisconsin’s State Government was Benefitted from his subservient buy ins for his ultimate Pay Off.
    Did he Double Dip on Tax Payers as both Governor and as DNC Chair?
    Wonder if ole VA Governor Kaine is at odds with Obama’s Pot Smoking
    stance. Kaine was adamant and bulldozed NO SMOKING for VA, for
    all his Correct reasons, at the time. Now PC is Cigarette Smoking = BAD; Pot Smoking = Good.
    What do you say, former Virginia Governor Kaine?
    Did you benefit from Rich Friends acting as Donors/Financiers?
    Did you benefit from Double Dipping into Public Coffers?
    Did you benefit from Friends with Benefits for your Buy Ins for Pay Offs.
    The sounds of Silence, while they get to run, hide, refuse, excuse,
    and receive all the protections of Government/Media, Inc.

    • Charles Daniels

      I was wondering how long it would take someone to call out the hypocrisy of the democratic party….Henry Waxman and the other democrat goons spent the last 50 years telling us how bad smoking was and now they glamorize pot smoking..And that is smoking without a filter…..They systematically destroyed our tobacco industry and now they are doing the same to the coal industry……..where does the hypocrisy end???

  • thomas23228

    I shared the secret with them on how to earn $7k a month while working from home part-time. If they both work from home part-time they will be able to afford 1 dress per month!

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