News / USA

    Former Governor's Corruption Trial New for Virginia, but Not for US Politics

    Former Governor's Corruption Trial New for Virginia, but Not for US Polticsi
    X
    Amy Lu
    August 11, 2014 9:24 PM
    A public corruption trial in the U.S. state of Virginia has made headlines across the nation, with stories of expensive gifts, a faltering marriage and infatuation. The former governor, Bob McDonnell, and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting more than 165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting his company's products. Amy Lu has more.
    Amy Lu

    A public corruption trial in the U.S. state of Virginia has made headlines across the nation, with stories of expensive gifts, a faltering marriage and infatuation.

    The former governor, Bob McDonnell, and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting his company's products.

    Once entrusted by voters with fighting for the people of Virginia, McDonnell is now fighting in a court of law.

    "I can't comment on any of the testimony in the trial, as you know," he said.

    It’s the first time a Virginia governor has faced trial on public corruption charges.

    The McDonnells are charged with accepting numerous lavish gifts and loans from businessman Jonnie Williams, including $15,000 for their daughter’s wedding.

    Defense lawyers said Maureen McDonnell developed a "crush" on Williams and reject the prosecution's claim the McDonnells used the governor's office to promote the businessman's dietary supplement company.

    Trials of U.S. politicians are not new.

    "Certainly the behaviors before this court today will never be repeated," said former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who is serving jail time after being convicted of sexual harassment last year.

    Florida Congressman Trey Radel resigned from office after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

    “I have let down our country, I have let down our constituents. I’ve let down my family,” Radel said.

    Political corruption trials, like the McDonnells', often stem from investigative reports published in the U.S. media, according to Newport University's Quentin Kidd.

    "We have a media that will go after these stories and expose them, and then prosecutors will come in behind them and say 'Oh yeah, we see there’s a potential crime here,' and they’ll investigate it and charge public officials sometimes, other times they don't,” Kidd said.

    A free and open news media often keep corruption in check.

    “I think as long as human nature is what it is, there will probably always be corruption, which is why we need a free media and which is why we need a judiciary that’s independent of the political process,” Kidd said.

    "We're looking forward to conitnue to having the truth come out," McDonnell said.

    If convicted, he and his wife face decades in prison.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Patrick from: Ca
    August 12, 2014 8:30 AM
    Decades in prison is rediculous, business as usual for politicians. Fine him till he's humbled.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora