Ex-Virginia Governor, Wife, Charged With Felony Graft

Bob and Maureen McDonnell face 14 counts

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 21, 2014 3:34 PM CST

(Newser) – About the only upside for Bob McDonnell is that he avoided the indignity of being indicted while he was a sitting governor. Beyond that, it's pretty bleak. Federal authorities today charged the former Virginia governor and his wife, Maureen, with accepting illegal gifts from a prominent business owner, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The indictment, stemming from the McDonnells' relationship with Jonnie Williams, comes less than two weeks after McDonnell left office. It also alleges that the McDonnells lied to a financial institution. They face 14 felony counts in all.

The McDonnells have acknowledged accepting loans and gifts such as luxury vacations from Williams. "In exchange, authorities alleged that the McDonnells worked in concert to lend the prestige of the governorship to Williams's struggling company, a small former cigarette manufacturer that now sells dietary supplements," sums up the Washington Post. In a statement, the former governor says he regrets accepting "legal gifts and loans" from Williams and has paid everything back. "However, I repeat emphatically that I did nothing illegal for Mr. Williams in exchange for what I believed was his personal generosity and friendship.”

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell dances with his wife, Maureen, during his inaugural ball  in Richmond in 2010.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell dances with his wife, Maureen, during his inaugural ball in Richmond in 2010.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This 2011 photo provided by the office of the Governor of Virginia shows Jonnie Williams left, and Maureen McDonnell.
This 2011 photo provided by the office of the Governor of Virginia shows Jonnie Williams left, and Maureen McDonnell.   (AP Photo/Office of the Governor of Virginia, Michaele White)
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