Former Va. Governor, Wife Charged In Federal Gifts Case

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 21 2014 3:51 PM

From Potential 2012 VP Candidate to Federal Charges

139614615-virginia-governor-bob-mcdonnell-speaks-during-an
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell speaks during an address to the 39th Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) on February 10, 2012 in Washington

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

WaPo with the breaking news out of Virginia, where former GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife were charged today in federal court with illegally accepting lavish gifts, luxury vacations, and large loans from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., a wealthy Virginia businessman who was then the head of a dietary supplement company:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Authorities alleged McDonnell and his wife received gifts from Williams again and again, lodging near constant requests for money, clothes, trips, golf accessories and private plane rides. In exchange, they alleged 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.

The lengthy list of charges means the couple could end up serving decades in prison if convicted on all counts and given max sentences—although in reality the pair would likely serve only a fraction of that time if convicted, according to the paper.

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Regardless, it's been quite a fall for McDonnell, who was mentioned as a possible VP candidate for Mitt Romney back in 2012. Instead, the final months of his time in the Virginia governor's mansion were dominated by the allegations of his and his wife's relationship with Williams, who stepped down as chief executive of Star Scientific Inc. back in December.

McDonnell has maintained his innocence, denying that he broke any laws or doled out unethical favors. Speaking at his final State of the Commonwealth address earlier this year, however, he conceded that his actions left an "adverse public impression," and said he was "deeply sorry" for any pain he caused Virginians.

Look for Slate to have more on the news a bit later.

This post has been updated.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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