According to The Washington Post on Jan. 21, former Virginia governor Robert F. "Bob" McDonnell and his wife Maureen were charged in federal court for illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations and large loans from Jonnie R. Williams, Sr., a wealthy Richmond-area businessman, who sought special treatment from state government.
The McDonnells were charged with 14 felony counts that includes wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, obtaining property under color of their official office and conspiring to do the same.
Additionally, they were charged with making false statements to a federal credit union.
McDonnell was also charged with making a false statement to a financial institution, and Maureen McDonnell was charged with obstructing the investigation.
McDonnell, 59, is the first governor ever to face criminal charges in a state that has prided itself on a history of clean politics. Until this situation emerged with Williams, he had faced no challenges to his ethics or character.
The threat of indictment was hanging over the governor's head during the final months of his four-year term. The indictment came just days after the inauguration of Governor Terry McAuliffe on Jan. 11.This seems to have been planned to give McAuflie a chance to make a smooth transition into being Virginia's governor.
The new governor and leading state lawmakers in both parties have indicated they support these charges against the former governor and his wife.
Authorities alleged that 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, authorities alleged that the McDonnells did special favors for Williams’ and his struggling company, a small former cigarette manufacturer that now sells dietary supplements.
McDonnell apologized last July for his interactions with Williams. He paid back the CEO’s $50,000 loan to his wife, as well as another $70,000 loan made to a small business McDonnell owns with his sister. He then returned what he called “tangible” gifts he received for his family from Williams.
Even though the indictment came today, this case is far from being over.