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Former VA Governor, Wife Plead Not Guilty

11:40 AM, Jan 24, 2014   |    comments
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell pauses while making a statement as his wife, Maureen, right, listens during a news conference in Richmond, Va., Tuesday.(Photo: Steve Helber, AP)
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were released on their own recognizance Friday to await trial on federal corruption charges.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Novak also ordered the McDonnells not to leave the country. The former governor's lawyer told Novak the defendants already have surrendered their passports.

Clearly exasperated by months of news stories about the case based on anonymous sources, Novak sternly lectured lawyers from both sides not to discuss the case with the media. He warned that such conduct violates a local court rule and could result in contempt of court charges.

"This case is going to be tried in the courtroom; it is not going to be tried in the media," Novak said. "The gamesmanship with the media ends now."

The couple arrived for the bond hearing with an entourage of about two dozen family members and supporters. They said nothing in court other than answering routine questions about whether they understood the charges.

The former Republican governor and his wife were indicted on 14 counts Tuesday after a lengthy federal investigation of his relationship with a former CEO of a dietary supplement maker.

Federal prosecutors allege the McDonnells accepted more than $165,000 worth of loans and gifts from Jonnie Williams, the former head of Star Scientific Inc.

Prosecutors say that in return, the McDonnells improperly helped Williams promote his company's products.

McDonnell, once a rising star in the Republican Party, has denied criminal wrongdoing.

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