Virginia drops charges against McDonnell, allows federal investigation to proceed

Commonwealth attorney Michael Herring says charges will be subsumed

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The Virginia government will drop its investigation into the financial affairs of former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen in an effort to steer clear of a federal investigation into corruption charges.

The Virginia government will drop its investigation into the financial affairs of former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen in an effort to steer clear of a federal investigation into corruption charges.

Last week, a grand jury charged McDonnell and his wife with a 14-count federal indictment. According to prosecutors, the McDonnells accepted $165,000 in illegitimate gifts and transactions from businessman Jonnie Williams. In exchange, the couple illegally aided Williams’ health supplements company, Star Scientific, Inc.

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring, a Democrat, said the McDonnell investigation was inconclusive and all charges against him were dropped. Herring notified McDonnell’s attorneys Monday the state investigation would be closed.

According to Herring, any state violations committed by McDonnell and his wife will be incorporated into federal charges.

“While the state charges were dropped, McDonnell didn’t catch a break because of this decision,” University Center for Politics spokesperson Geoffrey Skelley said.

Rather, closing the state investigation will reduce state expenditures and “save resources,” Skelley said. “[Herring] pointed out that pursuing McDonnell on a lesser state charge would be counterproductive, with the more serious federal charges taking precedent.”

Herring said Virginians should not assume McDonnell will be acquitted just because the state charges were dropped.

The couple pleaded not guilty in an arraignment hearing in Richmond last Friday. If convicted, each could face up to 30 years in prison. The trial has been set for July 28.


Published January 30, 2014 in FP test, News

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