1 conviction against ex-Va. first lady tossed out

Former first lady Maureen McDonnel prepares to enter the federal courthouse in Richmond, Va., Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, for the start of the second week of the federal corruption trial for McDonnell and husband, former Gov. Bob McDonnell. The McDonnells are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from Jonnie Williams, the former CEO of dietary supplements maker Star Scientific Inc., in exchange for helping promote his company's products. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bob Brown).

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Monday overturned one conviction against former Virginia first ladyMaureen McDonnell but affirmed several other corruption verdicts against her and her husband.

Judge James R. Spencer rejected the McDonnells’ request for a new trial and their arguments that the guilty verdicts should be thrown out.

Document: Judge Spencer’s Maureen McDonnell motion

A jury found the McDonnells guilty in September of illegally trying to help dietary supplement maker Jonnie Williams in exchange of more than $165,000 in gifts and loans.

Maureen McDonnell is now guilty of eight counts instead of nine. She and her husband are set to be sentenced early next year.

Special Coverage: McDonnell Trial

The verdict that was overturned was over Maureen McDonnell writing a note Williams when she returned many of the designer clothes he’d given her. McDonnell returned the items shortly after law enforcement talked to her in February 2013.

In her note, Maureen McDonnell indicated that she and Williams had pre-arranged that she would return the items instead of keeping them, which prosecutors said was a lie. McDonnell gave the note and clothes to Williams through his brother.

Spencer said prosecutors did not provide enough evidence at trial to warrant a guilty verdict. He said that that while there was proof that McDonnell acted with “corrupt intent, obstruction of justice require more than just a misleading note.”

 

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