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A federal judge has refused to dismiss corruption charges against former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. The judge also refused to grant them separate trials.
U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer’s ruling means that the McDonnells’ attorneys will have to start preparing to go to trial, notes The Washington Post. They are facing 14 counts related to their relationship with Richmond businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. and a company he ran, Star Scientific. The McDonnells allegedly took gifts and loans from Williams in exchange for helping him and his company get special meetings and promoting Star’s products.
According to The Hill, the McDonnells’ attorneys argued that they were not acting in an “official” capacity when they took the alleged bribes. Spencer disagreed, writing on Monday that their actions did “fall under the umbrella of official acts.”
The attorneys also asked that the trials be separated, saying that it was the only way that Maureen would testify that McDonnell didn’t know about some of her dealings with Williams. In addition, McDonnell would be able to testify for himself without violating marital privilege. However, the judge disagreed there as well, and the couple will be tried together.
The trial is set to start on July 28.