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Judge refuses to dismiss charges against former Va. Gov. McDonnell and his wife

Lawyers for former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and his wife argued that separate trials would allow couple to testify freely.
By Frances Burns   |   May 20, 2014 at 1:11 PM
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RICHMOND, Va., May 20 (UPI) -- A federal judge set a July trial date Tuesday for former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and his wife after refusing to dismiss the corruption case against them.

U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer also rejected a motion to try to couple separately. Their lawyers argued that having two trials would allow the McDonnells to testify without violating marital privilege or risking self-incrimination.

McDonnell was indicted in January, a week after leaving office, on charges that involve taking money and gifts in exchange for using his influence to help businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. of Richmond and his company, Star Scientific. During a hearing Monday, defense lawyers argued that the aid the McDonnells gave Williams was not "official."

The trial is scheduled to begin July 28.

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