Meanwhile, in the Home of Washington, Jefferson, and Wilson

Va. governor apologizes, repays loans to donor
Wednesday - 7/24/2013, 6:36am ET

AP Political Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday he has repaid a major political donor more than $120,000 in loans to the governor's wife and a business McDonnell owns with his sister.

McDonnell's relationship and thousands of dollars in gifts he and his family received from the donor, Jonnie Williams, are at the center of state and federal investigations. No charges have been filed and the Republican governor has said he did nothing illegal.

With less than six months remaining on his term, the governor issued an extraordinary apology for his ties to Williams, the chief executive of troubled nutritional supplements maker Star Scientific Inc.

"I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens. I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence. I hope today's action is another step toward that end," the governor said in the statement released through his private communications consultant, Rich Galen.

McDonnell said the repayments, totaling $124,115, include principal and interest and settle both debts.

The statement marked the governor's first substantial public reckoning over the gifts he and his family have received since he took office in January 2010. The scandal has brought his job approval ratings to the lowest point of his term.

The governor had no public events Tuesday and was not available to elaborate on the statement, said his chief spokesman, J. Tucker Martin.

McDonnell has assembled a team of private attorneys and consultants to represent him in the ongoing probe. The team is headed by Emmet Flood, who helped former President Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings, and former Vice President **** Cheney when he was sued by ex-CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose cover was blown in a newspaper column.

A private legal defense fund has been established to help McDonnell cover his legal bills.

Galen's release said the repayments were $52,278 for a personal loan Williams made to first lady Maureen McDonnell in 2011 and $71,837 for two loans to MoBo Real Estate Partners, a small real estate business McDonnell and a sister own.

Among Williams' gifts to the first family was a $15,000 check to McDonnell's daughter Cailin to help her defray catering costs for her 2011 wedding reception at the Executive Mansion. McDonnell did not disclose the gifts on his required annual statements of economic interest, citing a Virginia's public ethics law that exempts reporting of gifts to officeholders' family members or gifts to officeholders themselves if they're from personal friends, a distinction the governor affords to Williams.

McDonnell also did not note the business loans or the personal loan to his wife on his statements of economic interest.

McDonnell is limited to one term, but the scandal looms large in this year's campaign to elect his successor.

One of the candidates in that race, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, accepted more than $18,000 in personal gifts from Williams and once held more than $10,000 in Star Scientific stock while in statewide office -- shares he has since sold. Some of the gifts went unreported for years on his annual statements of economic interest, including a $3,000 summer family retreat and a $1,500 family Thanksgiving dinner at Williams' luxury waterside lodge on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountain foothills.

Cuccinelli amended four years' worth of reports in April to include the gifts, and Richmond's commonwealth's attorney, Democrat Mike Herring, last week said he found no evidence that Cuccinelli violated the state ethics law.

Star Scientific, maker of Anatabloc, an anti-inflammatory supplement not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, is the subject of a federal securities investigation and several shareholders' lawsuits.
Va. governor apologizes, repays loans to donor -
Anti Gay ex Virginia Gov Living With Priest Who Plead Guilty To Sex Crime

Virginia ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) revealed during testimony last week that he moved out of his family home and in with his parish priest the week before his federal corruption trial began.

McDonnell explained on the stand that living separately from his wife Maureen would make it easier for him to prepare for trial each day and described their marriage as "on hold." The priest he is staying with or the time being, Rev. Wayne Ball of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Richmond, Va., is a family friend who officiated his daughter Cailin's wedding.

Ball also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sex charge in late 2002.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported at the time that Ball, then pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Norfolk, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of frequenting a bawdy place. Other media reports defined that as a place used for "lewdness, assignation or prostitution." Norfolk police had arrested Ball and another Richmond man the night before Thanksgiving when they were found together in a parked car in a local park.

The charge was dismissed in 2003 after Ball fulfilled the terms of his plea agreement.

McDonnell railed against sex outside of marriage in his now-infamous master's thesis, making his friendship with Ball and his decision to move into the rectory at St. Patrick's during the trial all the more interesting. In the paper, written for Regents University in 1989, McDonnell deplored "the perverted notion of liberty that each individual should be able to live out his sexual life in any way he chooses without interference from the state," going on to blast gays and unwed mothers.

As a Virginia state delegate, McDonnell had also been part of a Republican-led state crime commission that recommended criminalizing "sodomy that occurs in a public place" in 2005.

Ball blogged about the McDonnell trial for the first time on Thursday. He weighed in on the McDonnells' defense strategy, which he said the media has characterized as the former governor "throwing his wife under the bus."

"When you charge a married couple, especially a couple with a long marriage, and either of them dares to testify it would be impossible for them to tell 'the whole truth' and not talk about the marriage … Is there any person at all who would want to stand up in public and tell the whole truth about their life?" he wrote.

"Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone," he concluded, quoting gospel. (external - login to view)

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