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Judge denies motion to dismiss charges against Bob McDonnell, wife

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – The federal corruption case against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen will move forward after Judge James Spencer denied a motion to dismiss. He also denied a motion to give the McDonnells separate trials.

Judge Spencer made the rulings in a brief filed in the U.S. District Court on Tuesday morning.

“Defendants take issue with the Indictment primarily on the ground that it fails to allege Robert McDonnell performed or promised to perform any ‘official act’ within the meaning of the federal bribery statutes,” Judge Spencer wrote in his order not to dismiss charges. “Whether Defendants’ conduct in fact constituted “the corruption of official positions through misuse of
influence in governmental decision-making” is a question for the jury based on the evidence adduced at trial.”

The couple is listed as co-defendants on the indictment that alleges they accepted more than $150,000 from local businessman Johnnie Williams in exchange for promotion of his company’s products. Defense attorneys for the McDonnells said Maureen McDonnell had information that could acquit her husband of wrong doing, but she could not give that testimony unless the trials were severed because her testimony would harm her own defense in a joint trial.

However Judge Spencer did not agree.

“Defendants have failed to meet their burden to show that a joint trial will result in a miscarriage of justice or prevent Robert McDonnell from receiving a fair trial,” Judge Spencer wrote. “Defendants have limited their showing of Maureen McDonnell’s potential testimony largely to vague and conclusory statements that ‘merely contradict[] part of the Government’s proof.’”

“This is a win for the prosecution,” CBS 6 legal analyst Todd stone said.

Stone said it was a “long shot ” for complete dismissal, but now that separate trials were denied as well it could race questions whether Maureen McDonnell will testify it all.

McDonnell lawyers had previously argued that Maureen McDonnell’s testimony could refute Bob McDonnell’s involvement.

“Her lawyers will now have to make a decision regarding what is best for her,” Stone said.

Apart from dismissing those two key requests, Judge Spencer denied a request to redact parts of the indictment as well as denying a request for grand jury communications with prosecutors.

New subpoenas were also issued Tuesday. The list of people expected to testify now include current Secretary of a Health Bill Hazel, Former McDonnell Chief of Staff Martin Kent, Former McDonnell Communications Director Tucker Martin, Former Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly, and Former First Lady Chief of Staff Mary Shea Sutherland.

30 comments

    • athynz

      What is interesting is that the State of VA cleared him and his wife of all charges. That is where things should have ended. Why is the Federal Government involved in this?

      • Johnie L.

        Athynz said “the State of VA cleared him and his wife of all charges”. Really? When was that? The State of VA dropped the lessor State charge with the more serious federal charges taking precedent.

        “Why is the Federal government involved in this”? Go back to your first year law school or civics studies. If you don’t know, then ask. “That is where things should have ended” is an incorrect answer.

      • athynz

        Johnie it’s because the Federal Government was ordered to pursue this lawsuit because the libpros are frightened of this man. Was his accepting the gifts wrong? Ethically yes, legally no as there is no law on the books for a limit on gifts. Did Star Labs get any favored treatment? I do not recall any reports that they did.

        As for my civics studies this was a “crime” against the state and the state cleared him of charges. Why is the federal government getting involved in this is not because the powers that be are scared? Where was the federal government with other cases like this involving a democrat?

  • R Moffett

    The real shame is that McDonnell is an educated man and an attorney who can reasonably be assumed to have known better and for whom there can be no justifiable excuse. Whether he violated the law or not is for the courts to decide; however the expense to the Commonwealth’s taxpayers and disgrace brought on the State could easily have been avoided by McDonnell’s simply using some common sense. No reasonable person can possibly believe that, whether illegal or not, what he and his wife did did not, at the very least, create a perception of impropriety.

    • mikey

      Who cares if he is educated? He and his wife are simply low character people. Smart, nice, educated, Republican, Democrate….none of that matters. The problem is low character, willing to lie, cheat and steal for money. That’s whats wrong with this country.

      • manalishi

        So, given your rational, Columbia, Occidental, and Harvard do not count given the corruption from bathhouse Barry Soertoro and his appointees. Where did you go, VSU or did that Sally Struthers correspondence course put you on top? Bahahah!

        Class dismissed.

      • manalishi

        So kim on a whim, I notice your proclamation that i made no sense. Pity some anklebiters cannot admit when they just do not understand. Should we expect better from democrats?

      • manalishi

        Feel free to cite or quote one excuse i have ever made for a republican. Until then, please enjoy your daily bimbo award.

    • athynz

      What McDonnell did was ethically wrong or at least gave the appearance of being so. It was not legally wrong according to VA State law. He paid back everything and his reputation is sullied. Why the federal lawsuit over this? Where are the lawsuits against democrats who break state laws?

      My issue is that legally everyone should be treated the same and yet more often than not democrats are given a pass when they are in power and it’s the same for republicans. And it’s the same thing when a person has money – legally they should be treated the same as a person who makes far less but has committed the same crime. And yet between the affluenza and the “who you know” clubs our legal system is a joke.

  • foghorn leghorn

    We all would be spared the expense and embarrassment if he just allowed the chef to take home the leftovers!

  • PC.PU

    Knew the Verdict! This was a Party-Wide, set up, orchestrated, drone attack/Character Assassination of an Republican opponent.
    Care to contrast Dwight Clinton Jones and Bryon Marshall ‘s Corruption,
    Collusion, Friends with Benefits, Donors for Tax Dollars, Buy In for Pay
    Offs, and Party Tax Exempt Special Interest Running the Government?
    How about Down & Dirty, Hidden “Deals” for all their Party’s
    Exclusive Favorites, their way, without Public’s Say.
    Remember the abject Derelictions of Duties, Oaths, Dysfunctions,
    Failures, and Debacles of most, is not all, City departments and agencies
    that lead to a child’s death?
    NO? Perfectly Positioned to be Perfectly Politically Correct, Right?
    How much did the Chef Cost? Did Tax Payers pay for that too?
    Then Along Came Jones……Refuse, Excuse, Cover Up, and
    Raise to Virginia Democratic Party Chair by the Government
    McAuliffe whose Federal Investigation is PC Lost, Covered Up,
    forgotten, and disregarded.
    PU.PC

  • me

    That close personal Friendship between Sharon Judkins, Byron
    Marshall, and Dwight Clinton Jones, was intentionally set up, between
    Friends, to the tune of $400,000 Tax Dollars.
    Got Caught with pants down around the ankles as she was just
    about to walk away. NO corruption; NO Charges, just PC Blessed.

    • athynz

      So where are the lawsuits from the Federal Government over this? Anytime a libpro is involved the government leaves it alone, when it is a republican they are all over it like a pack of ravenous wolves.

      • Joe

        It is obvious that you have no understanding whatsoever of the legal system. Fortunately, you don’t even have enough knowledge to be dangerous. Don’t say “prove me wrong”. It makes no sense to argue with an idiot.

      • athynz

        IOW Joe/David you have no real rebuttal. Imagine that. Tell me then of the multitude of lawsuits that were filed against democrats. Tell me why the Federal Government got involved in this when the state cleared them of all charges as they did not break any laws. Come on Joe/David, since you are such a smart man you should have no problems explaining this. Wait, why am I still feeding this troll? Get back to removing the toe jam from your mother’s feet boy.

  • Becky

    Federal Charges aganist a Republican
    are Routine PC Party SOP/MO as in the Jones, Marshall,
    City Council Perfectly Correct Corrupt “Deals”
    for Political Party Friends and Donors, and Sharon Judkins.

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