Criminal Justice

Former Va. governor rejected plea bargain that would have spared his wife, WaPo reports

Former Va. Gov. Robert F. “Bob” McDonnell reportedly rejected a plea offer by federal prosecutors that would have spared his wife, Maureen, from prosecution.

McDonnell was offered an opportunity to plead guilty to one felony fraud charge that had nothing to do with the corruption charges he and his wife are now facing, the Washington Post reports, but the governor rejected the offer, the Post says, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the conversations.

Lawyers for Maureen McDonnell had also approached prosecutors last summer to find out if the case could be resolved without charges against her husband, but prosecutors showed no interest in such a deal, the Post says, citing unnamed sources.

The McDonnells have both been charged in a 14-count indictment alleging that they engaged in a conspiracy and fraud by accepting more than $165,000 worth of cash and luxury gifts from the CEO of a Virginia-based dietary supplement company in exchange for favorable treatment from the governor’s office.

The behind-the-scenes plea discussions underscore McDonnell’s claim that prosecutors have stretched the law in an attempt to hold him accountable for the actions of his wife, according to the Post. They also suggest the extent to which the McDonnells believe it was Maureen McDonnell’s friendship with the company CEO that has landed both her and her husband in hot water.

Lawyers for the McDonnells, who have professed their innocence, declined to comment, the Post says. So did a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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