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VA News

A compilation of newspaper articles
about state government and politics.



VaNews - July 30, 2014

Today's Sponsor: Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont

Featuring Boz Scaggs, Babyface, Boney James, Rick Braun, Average White Band and more than 30 other jazz artists, August 7-10. Tickets and lineup information: www.jazzatmaymont.com

Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON MCAULIFFE’S CALL FOR ABORTION CLINIC REVIEW ENDS THIS WEEK

By JENNA PORTNOY
Washington Post

The Virginia Department of Health has received about 7,000 comments on whether strict hospital-style regulations on abortion clinics should be retained, amended, or repealed and rewritten since Gov. Terry McAuliffe called for expediting a review of the rules. In the first executive directive of his term, McAuliffe (D) in May called for the usual review process, which wouldn’t have begun until as late as 2017, to be accelerated. The regulatory process still could take years to complete.

LOCAL PROGRAMS SHOWCASED AS SECRETARY VISITS AREA

By BEN R. WILLIAMS
Martinsville Bulletin

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran visited Martinsville on Tuesday and saw a demonstration of a fire-fighting technique that he said created “a perfect example of why it’s important” for officials to visit different parts of the state. Moran visited Henry County Public Safety’s firefighter training facility and Memorial Hospital in Martinsville.

STATE VA SECRETARY ENCOURAGED BY REFORM EFFORTS

By ALICIA PETSKA
News & Advance

Virginia Secretary of Veterans Affairs John Harvey said Tuesday he’s encouraged by federal efforts to reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and hopes to see a final measure passed soon.

MCDONNELL CASE

MCDONNELL TRIAL OPENS WITH FAMILY DRAMA FRONT AND CENTER

By JIM NOLAN AND FRANK GREEN
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Depending on whom you believe, Bob and Maureen McDonnell were either gift-grubbing and financially desperate enough to conspire to sell the governor’s office, or so dedicated to public service that the stresses of a gubernatorial term wrecked their marriage. Depending on whom you believe, Jonnie Williams Sr., the dietary supplement impresario, was a “vitamin salesman” who looked at the thousands of dollars in gifts, trips and loans he gave the then-first family as part of a business transaction.

ATTORNEY: FORMER GOVERNOR'S WIFE HAD "CRUSH" ON CEO

By BILL SIZEMORE
Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Foreshadowing a line of defense worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy, lawyers for former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, told a federal jury Tuesday that the McDonnells couldn’t have conspired to corrupt the governor’s office because their marriage was falling apart. While putting on a public face of marital bliss, behind the scenes, Virginia’s first couple were barely on speaking terms for much of McDonnell’s governorship, their lawyers said in opening arguments of a corruption trial that could land the pair in prison for life.

BOB MCDONNELL’S DEFENSE: LONELY WIFE DEVELOPED ‘CRUSH’ ON CEO

By DAVID SHERFINSKI
Washington Times

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s marriage had broken and his wife developed a crush on a wealthy CEO who heaped expensive gifts and attention on her, defense attorneys said Tuesday in a startling opening to the couple’s federal corruption trial. The disclosures of a dysfunctional relationship from attorneys for both Mr. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, reveal a defense strategy that will attempt to undercut suggestions of a conspiracy on the part of the couple, who are accused of taking $150,000 in gifts and loans from Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in exchange for promoting his business interests.

DEFENSE SAYS MAUREEN MCDONNELL HAD A CRUSH ON GIFT GIVER

By TRAVIS FAIN
Daily Press (Paywall for certain articles)

The ugly details of a marriage that was falling apart in the governor's mansion will get dragged in front a jury in the coming weeks as former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, fight federal corruption charges. Their marriage was so broken that a smooth-talking salesman was able to “dupe” Maureen McDonnell into thinking he cared for her, the McDonnells' attorneys said Tuesday. Now the couple is accused of taking bribes from that salesman, former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams Sr., and promoting a company product in return.

EX-FIRST COUPLE’S DEFENSE IN VIRGINIA: THE STATE OF THEIR UNION

By TRIP GABRIEL
New York Times

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and his wife, Maureen, on trial for conspiring to use his office for personal enrichment, outlined an unexpected defense on Tuesday: Their marriage was so broken that they did not communicate enough to conspire about anything. In opening arguments in the couple’s corruption trial in federal court here, their lawyers made clear that they planned to rely on the sordid details of their unhappy union as the basis of their legal defense.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: MCDONNELL MARRIAGE HAD ‘BROKEN DOWN’

By MATT ZAPOTOSKY, ROSALIND S. HELDERMAN AND LAURA VOZZELLA
Washington Post

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) and his wife on Tuesday unveiled an unorthodox defense to the federal corruption charges against them: Maureen McDonnell had a “crush” on the charismatic executive who lavished gifts and cash on the couple. Maureen McDonnell’s intense — even romantic — interest in Jonnie R. Williams Sr. helps explain why she let him pay for expensive shopping trips and vacations for her and her family while she promoted a nutritional supplement he was trying to sell, defense attorneys said during opening statements.

MCDONNELL CORRUPTION TRIAL FOCUSES ON BROKEN MARRIAGE

By VALERIE BAUERLEIN
Wall Street Journal

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, had a broken marriage that left them vulnerable to a businessman seeking to exploit their power for his own benefit, their attorneys said Tuesday during the opening day of the couple's political-corruption trial. Mr. McDonnell worked 16-hour days and spent half of his four-year tenure away from the executive mansion, his attorney, John Brownlee, said in his opening statement.

EX-GOVERNOR’S CORRUPTION TRIAL FOCUSES ON MARRIAGE

By LARRY O’DELL AND ALAN SUDERMAN
Associated Press

The corruption trial for ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife plunged Tuesday into the sordid details of the couple’s marriage and the former first lady’s “crush” on a businessman who, according to prosecutors, lavished them with gifts and cash in exchange for promoting his company. The McDonnells are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in loans, designer clothes, vacations and a Rolex watch from Jonnie Williams, the CEO of dietary supplements maker Star Scientific. If convicted, they could face decades in prison.

‘CRUSH DEFENSE’ COULD HELP MCDONNELLS LEGALLY, ANALYSTS SAY

By CAROL D. LEONNIG AND ROSALIND S. HELDERMAN
Washington Post

The claim that Virginia’s former first lady suffered from a fraying marriage and a secret crush on a Virginia businessman opened the first day of Maureen and Robert F. McDonnell’s corruption trial with a bang. But the soap-opera description provided by the couple’s defense team also could blow a hole in the prosecution’s case that the former governor and his wife worked together to solicit more than $150,000 in gifts and loans in exchange for helping the businessman’s company.

VIRGINIA EX-GOVERNOR’S FINANCES KEY TO CASE, U.S. SAYS

By ANDREW ZAJAC AND PETER GALUSZKA
Bloomberg News

Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell traded the influence of his office for more than $150,000 in loans and gifts from a businessman seeking state help to promote dietary supplements, a U.S. prosecutor said. A cash-strapped McDonnell repeatedly asked entrepreneur Jonnie Williams for financial assistance and received a stream of benefits ranging from real estate loans and use of Williams’s Ferrari to $15,000 for a wedding luncheon for his daughter, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber said as the ex-governor’s corruption trial began opened in Richmond, Virginia.

A VIEWER’S GUIDE TO THE BOB MCDONNELL TRIAL

By KATIE GLUECK
Politico

The public corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, started this week in Richmond, and promises to deliver high drama in the courtroom. The ordeal centers on a case that could pit husband against wife as the McDonnells grapple with 14 charges tied to their personal finances, their dealings with a Virginia businessman and questions surrounding whether the governor’s office was used improperly to benefit that individual in exchange for thousands of dollars’ worth loans and gifts, the bulk of which the former governor has said he repaid.

MCDONNELL CORRUPTION TRIAL BEGINS

Associated Press

The corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, once a rising star in the Republican Party, and his wife began Monday in federal court with jury selection. Bob and Maureen McDonnell are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from the CEO of a dietary supplements company in exchange for helping promote his products. Their trial is expected to last at least five weeks.