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Update: Bob McDonnell Indicted in Gift Scandal

Bob and Maureen McDonnell deny any alleged wrongdoing

Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen have been indicted by the US Department of Justice, charged with accepting extravagant gifts from Richmond businessman Jonnie Williams.  Williams was the CEO of Star Scientific, a company that sold non-FDA approved diet supplements.

Among other things, the indictment includes an email sent by Maureen McDonnell to one of her husband’s senior staffers on December 21, 2009:

I need to talk to you about Inaugural clothing budget.  I need answers and Bob is screaming about the thousands I’m charging up in credit card debt.  We are broke, have an unconscionable amount in credit card debt already, and this Inaugural is killing us!  I need answers and I need help, and I need to get this done.

The email was sent after Mrs. McDonnell told the staffer that Williams had agreed to buy her an Oscar de la Renta gown for the inauguration.  After the staffer raised concerns that this ran afoul of campaign finance law she told Williams she couldn’t accept the gown at this time, but would take a “rain check” from him.

According to the indictment, the McDonnells were relentlessly hitting Williams up for money, private plane rides, clothing and trips.

A lawyer for Bob McDonnell released the following statement  on his behalf:

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. However, I repeat emphatically that I did nothing illegal for Mr. Williams in exchange for what I believed was his personal generosity and friendship.

You can read the 43 page indictment here (PDF).


 Photo by under Creative Commons license

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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