Ex-governor of Virginia indicted for alleged bribery

by Reuters
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 22:08 GMT

By David Ingram

WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell and his wife were indicted on Tuesday by a federal grand jury and charged with accepting bribes in the form of money and gifts from the chief executive of a dietary supplements maker.

An indictment with 14 counts was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and court appearances for the couple were set for Friday in Richmond.

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, accepted gifts from the head of supplements-maker Star Scientific Inc including cash, golf fees and clothing and in exchange arranged for company executives to meet government officials who could help their business, the indictment alleges.

The McDonnells, both 59 years old, believe they have done nothing illegal and plan to fight the charges in court, they said in separate statements through their lawyers.

"We did not violate the law, and I will use every available resource and advocate I have for as long as it takes to fight these false allegations," Robert McDonnell said in his statement. He left office this month after four years in the job.

McDonnell, a Republican, said in July he had repaid $120,000 in loans from Jonnie Williams, a major campaign donor and the founder of Star Scientific. He also apologized for the embarrassment the gifts and loans to him and his family had caused Virginia.

Williams resigned as Star Scientific chief executive in December.

McDonnell had acknowledged that he and his family received more than $160,000 in gifts and loans from Williams. The gifts from Williams ranged from a $6,500 Rolex watch for McDonnell, to wedding and engagement presents and money for his daughters, and a $15,000 shopping spree for first lady Maureen McDonnell.

A spokeswoman for Star Scientific did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

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