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Former Gov. McDonnell, Wife Appear in Court - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Former Gov. McDonnell, Wife Appear in Court

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It was supposed to be a restful retirement - but two weeks out of office, former Governor Bob McDonnell is heading to trial.

McDonnell and his wife pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges Friday morning in Richmond. 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.

Over the past year, the McDonnell gift scandal case has received tons of attention in the press- but in court Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Novak said firmly, "the gamesmanship with the media ends now." With that, the former governor and first lady made no further public statements on the charges against them. There are 14 charges in all - each carrying a maximum of at least 20 years in prison.

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

It will be up to a jury to decide whether they abused the power of the governor's office in exchange for gifts from Williams. In the meantime, friends and former colleagues say they will be there for support.

A July 28 trial date has been set.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. 
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