RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The former chef at Virginia's Executive Mansion has agreed to a reduced charge that he stole food from the first family's kitchen, avoiding a politically embarrassing trial weeks before the state's gubernatorial election.
Todd Schneider entered the plea Wednesday to two misdemeanor embezzlement charges. He was ordered to serve six months in jail on each charge, with the time suspended. He also was ordered to make restitution of $2,300 to the state for the food he took.
Schneider had been scheduled to stand trial Oct. 15 on four counts of felony embezzlement less than three weeks before the Nov. 5 general election.
The case against Schneider brought to light allegations of misconduct against Gov. Bob McDonnell and entangled Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor.
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Office of the Attorney General Press Release
Statement on plea agreement and outside counsel appointments in chef schneider case
RICHMOND (September 18, 2013) - Statement from Brian Gottstein, director of communication, on the plea agreement and outside counsel appointments in the embezzlement case of former Governor's Mansion Chef Todd Schneider:
"The fact that there is a plea agreement in this case vindicates this office's decision to pursue the prosecution of embezzlement charges against Chef Todd Schneider. That decision was made only after a thorough review of the evidence and was based on upholding the law.
"In light of the plea today, we have examined the issue of outside counsel currently appointed to represent the governor, his staff, cabinet secretaries, and others in their official capacities, and have concluded that those attorneys will remain appointed for two reasons:
1) several of the issues that arose from the chef's case are still present in an ongoing federal investigation, and the potentially divergent legal interests of this office's clients still exist; and
2) outside attorneys have been already working for months with the state employees they are representing. Changing attorneys in the middle of an ongoing investigation could be detrimental to those employees."