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Former Virginia Gov. McDonnell and wife plead not guilty

Jan. 24, 2014 at 12:22 PM   |   Comments

RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Former Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, made a brief court appearance Friday, entering not guilty pleas to federal corruption charges.

A federal judge in Richmond set July 28 as a trial date and granted bail to the couple, the Washington Post reported.

The couple are charged with taking thousands of dollars in luxury items and cash from Johnnie R. Williams Sr., owner of Star Scientific. In return, the McDonnells did everything they could to boost the company, a small cigarette manufacturer that had turned to selling dietary supplements.

Sources close to the case told the Post that McDonnell rejected a plea offer that would have spared his wife criminal charges. He would have been allowed to plead guilty to one count of bank fraud.

Instead, federal prosecutors released a 14-count indictment Tuesday that in 43 pages lists details of the booty the McDonnells allegedly sought from Williams, including trips by private plane and shopping sprees for Maureen McDonnell. The couple allegedly received at least $165,000 from him in cash, trips and goods.

McDonnell, a Republican, had a reputation as an effective governor. Virginia limits its governors to a single term.

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