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McDonnell pleads 'not guilty' after praying and blowing kisses

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Former Governor Bob McDonnell (R,Va) prayed and threw a kiss to reporters before entering the courtroom to enter his not guilty plea today, according to ABC News, Jan. 24, 2014. McDonnell and his wife Maureen have been indicted and charged with receiving over $160,000 in gifts from Jonnie Williams and his company Star Scientific, a dietary supplement company that was trying to promote the medical benefits of tobacco consumption and earn favor with state agencies in the process.

Among the notable gifts bestowed to the McDonnell's by Williams were a $20,000 shopping spree for First Lady, Maureen, a $50,000 loan for the wedding of their daughter, and prolonged usage of Williams' Ferrari by the Governor while he and his wife were staying at Williams' vacation home.

The trial date for the former Governor and his wife has been set for July 28, 2014 on 14 charges that include fraud, obtaining property illegally and lying. The couple, if convicted, could face up to fourteen years in prison and $1 million in fines.

Thus far Bob McDonnell has admitted to accepting gifts and not reporting them; although Virginia law does allow a Governor to accept gifts from a personal friend so long as the Governor does no favors for that friend in return. The question remains as to whether or not the Governor extended favors to Williams in return for the gifts.



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