Ex-Virginia Governor and Wife Convicted

     RICHMOND, Va. – A jury on Thursday convicted former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen of multiple counts of conspiracy and public corruption related to their endorsement of nutritional supplements that could supposedly treat Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.
     Federal prosecutors had accused the couple of accepting about $165,000 in loans and luxury gifts from Jonnie Williams Sr., the CEO of pharmaceutical company Star Scientific.
     Jurors found the former governor guilty of 11 federal charges, and convicted his wife of nine. The couple faces sentencing on Jan. 6, 2015. USA Today reported that family members wept as the verdicts were read.
     The jury reportedly spent 18 hours over three days after beginning deliberations Monday.
     According to the 14-count indictment, McDonnell used Williams’ private jet while campaigning for governor. After he was elected on Nov. 3, 2009, his wife allegedly asked Williams to help pay for a dress for her husband’s upcoming inauguration and grew angry when a senior staffer expressed concerns about the idea.
     Over the next few years, Williams loaned the couple his Ferrari and jet, and took Maureen on a $19,000 shopping spree, according to the indictment. The McDonnells also accepted a Rolex watch engraved “71st Governor of Virginia,” golf clubs, designer clothing and iPhones, among other gifts, prosecutors said.
     Prosecutors also accused the McDonnells of accepting tens of thousands of dollars from Williams to pay for the weddings of their two daughters. In July 2011, Williams allowed the family to stay at his multimillion-dollar vacation home on Smith Mountain Lake, according to the indictment.
     McDonnell traded such gifts for his promotion of Star Scientific’s products, including the dietary supplement Anatabloc.
     An ongoing federal class action in Chicago accuses Star Scientific of pushing Anatabloc with false claims that it can treat Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.
     Williams reportedly received immunity to testify against the McDonnells.
     The McDonnells had separate legal defense teams and “tried to portray their marriage as so broken that they could not have conspired to take bribes as federal prosecutors charged,” USA Today reported.
     Though McDonnell fought the charges, he reportedly repaid Williams more than $120,000, with interest, last year and apologized for bringing “embarrassment” to the state of Virginia.

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