Gov. McDonnell rejected plea offer to face one felony, spare wife any charges, avoid trial
By Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol D. Leonnig, Thursday, January 23, 3:13 PM
Maureen McDonnell relayed to federal prosecutors last summer that she felt responsible for the relationship with a wealthy businessman that had drawn legal scrutiny to Virginia’s first family, and her attorney asked whether the case could be resolved without charges for her husband.
But prosecutors showed no interest, according to people familiar with the conversation. Instead, months later, authorities proposed that then-Gov. Robert F. McDonnell plead guilty to one felony bank fraud charge that had nothing to do with corruption in office and his wife would avoid charges altogether. The governor rejected the offer, the people with knowledge of the conversations said.
On Tuesday, Robert and Maureen McDonnell were jointly charged in a 14-count indictment that alleges that they engaged in conspiracy and fraud, trading on his office to provide assistance to the businessman in exchange for more than $165,000 worth of luxury gifts and loans.
The failed behind-the-scenes plea discussions