RICHMOND (WRIC) – Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from $120,000 in loans and other gifts from Johnnie Williams, the CEO of pharmaceutical company Star Scientific.
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted Tuesday on 14 counts including one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud; three counts of honest-services wire fraud; one count of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right; six counts of obtaining property under color of official right; and one count of making false statements to a federal credit union.
Bob McDonnell is also charged with an additional count of making a false statement to a financial institution, and Maureen McDonnell is charged with one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
According to the indictment, the relationship between the McDonnells started back in 2009 when Bob McDonnell was running for governor. A staffer asked Jonnie Williams if McDonnell would be able to use his private jet to travel to different campaign events…it goes on to detail a new york shopping trip with then-first lady Maureen McDonnell costing nearly $20,000 — $15,000 for catering at McDonnell's daughter's wedding, and a $50,000 loan for rental properties.
McDonnell contends not one penny of taxpayer money went to Star Scientific nor did his administration do anything out of the ordinary to help the company, saying that while he regrets and apologizes for his judgment, he doesn't believe he broke the law.
“I come before you this evening as someone who has been falsely accused I and whose public service has been wrongfully attacked,” McDonnell says. “I did nothing illegal for Mr. Williams in exchange for what I believed was his personal generosity and friendship. Yet federal officials in Washington, in their zeal to find a basis to charge Maureen and me, have decided to stretch the law to its breaking point. “
McDonnell's attorney William Burck of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP also released the following statement:
“Maureen McDonnell is innocent. The Department of Justice has overreached to bring these charges. Thankfully, however, the Department is not the sole arbiter in our justice system, which ultimately is not ruled by the unfounded suspicions of prosecutors but rather the law and the facts as decided by the judge and the jury.”
Both are due in court on Friday at 10 a.m.
For a full copy of the indictment, click here.
McDonnell's attorneys filed a strongly worded motion seeking the instructions that were given to the grand jury and recordings of prosecutors' statements to the grand jury about the legal validity of the charges.
The motion says the government's case is “built largely from immunized testimony purchased with under-the-table promises to a key witness who would otherwise face criminal liability and massive financial penalties.”
“The federal government's decision to use these deceitful tactics in order to prosecute a popular and successful Republican Governor immediately upon leaving office is disgraceful, violates basic principles of justice, and is contemptuous of the citizens of Virginia who elected him.”
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond