REPORT: McDonnell rejected plea deal that would have spared his wife

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(CNN) — Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, appeared for his arraignment in Richmond Friday morning, rejected a plea deal that would have spared his wife criminal charges, according to a source familiar with criminal case.

The source characterized McDonnell’s decision as “throwing his wife under the bus.”

The McDonnell team asserted that they did not believe the Justice Department could get a conviction against McDonnell at trial based on the evidence they had, the source added.

The Washington Post first reported McDonnell’s rejection of the plea deal.

McDonnell, who left office earlier this month, and wife, Maureen, were indicted Tuesday on federal charges of accepting illegal gifts.

The McDonnells are allowed to remain free while they await trial. They were released Friday on their own recognizance.

The court date has been scheduled for July 28 and is expected to last five to six weeks.

The defense is asking for 10 days and the prosecution asked for 15.

The judge sternly lectured the McDonnells to remain clear of the media.

Click here to continuing coverage of this developing story.

Click here to continuing coverage of this developing story.

The McDonnells each face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if convicted. The 14-count indictment, culminating a lengthy investigation of their relationship with a Virginia business executive, alleges fraud by a public official, false statements, and obstruction.

The gifts have been 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.

Prior to the controversy, which began unfolding last year, McDonnell was considered a potential GOP presidential candidate.

The federal probe involved the relationship between the McDonnells and 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.

McDonnell admitted to poor judgment in a statement.

“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.



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  • Glen Allen

    Oh please, she put herself under that bus. She knew exactly what she was doing. She spent far more money than what her husband was bringing in. I am quite certain she could have looked her best with clothes from Marshalls like the rest of us. Both of them have proven to be poor role models for their children. Shame on them! I certainly hope out State Budget was not put together in the same way.

  • RK

    Our “EX” governor and his wife couldnt even handle their own money, and in the hell did he handle our state money?????

      • Andrea

        …Lawmakers helped support general services by diverting $850 million in scheduled contributions to the state pension. They withdrew $783 million from Virginia’s rainy day fund. They also found savings by using debt to finance some construction projects they had planned to pay for in cash, raising a variety of fees, moving up the monthly deadline for businesses to submit sales tax receipts to create an extra collection in 2010, and moving money from self-supporting programs into the state’s general fund to help pay for education, health programs and public safety.

    • athynz

      IIRC we ended up with a surplus during his term – the first time since the last republican governor. And he managed to get VA employees their first pay raise in many years. So I’d say he managed the state’s money pretty well.

  • McC

    this reeks of ridiculous bias; Granting “immunity” for a plea bargain shows that the charges mean nothing. If they are both guilty of the same thing they should be equally punished. This is of course assuming that laws are based in morality and not for political gains. This is a prime example of overblown charges being used to extort a confession. these outlandish charges will not stick. Do wrong be punished; no matter what you can offer.(although neither of them did anything wrong at all)

    If this were anyone else this offer would never even be thought of. For shame.

  • Neko

    Doesn’t he have a son that attends UVA? I feel bad for their kids. Im sure the other students are giving him the side eye, when he used to have bragging rights for being the governor’s son

  • Frederick Heckstall

    how arrogant to think they could get away with it. also how much does the governor make. is there a salary for the first lady. the small sums of money they are talking about I find ridiculous. pay them more.

  • E Z

    Even as an usually Democratic voter, this latest surge of Republican revelations seems a bit fishy to me…First Christie & now McDonnell, it seems like the Democrats are playing the “ruin their name” game that is usually played by the Republicans…Maybe he should’ve left the chef alone cuz it’s quite ironic that all of this comes about after the big chef debacle…Who knows though, seemss a bit costly to waste taxpayer money prosecuting

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