The spokesman for Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s criminal defense team, hired in July as the governor switched lawyers and adopted a more aggressive public relations strategy, announced Friday that he will be leaving the position.
Rich Galen had promoted McDonnell’s image as someone busily about the work of governing, even as state and federal investigators were investigating his relationship with Jonnie R. Williams Sr., a Virginia businessman who lavished gifts and money on the McDonnell family.
“I originally signed on to take the effort through Labor Day assuming no further action on the part of the government,” Galen said in an e-mail announcing his departure. “I stayed on for an additional two weeks pending the previously announced departure of U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride.”
MacBride’s office has been investigating McDonnell’s ties to Williams, chief executive of nutritional supplement maker Star Scientific, who provided the McDonnell family with luxury items and $120,000 that the governor has described as loans. MacBride announced last month that he was stepping down, effective Friday.
Galen, who served as press secretary for Dan Quayle when he was a senator from Indiana and political communications director for Newt Gingrich when he was speaker of the House, cautioned against reading anything into his own departure.
— Laura Vozzella
Fairfax County police think two men could be behind a string of armed robberies in Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg.
The most recent robbery took place at a convenience store in the 6500 block of Edsall Road about 1 p.m. Wednesday, police said. Two men approached a clerk with items, as if to pay. They then assaulted the clerk, took money and fled.
In three other robberies in Fairfax County, two men entered 7-Eleven stores, displayed a handgun, took money and fled, police said.
In a fifth case, suspects attempted to rob a 22-year-old woman while she was walking in the 6300 block of Backlick Road in Springfield on Aug. 22, police said.
The same individuals are believed to be responsible for numerous armed robberies in Prince William County and Fredericksburg, police said. Investigators consider both suspects to be armed and dangerous.
— Justin Jouvenal
A hearing examiner will consider the case of an Anne Arundel County boy suspended from school after chewing a pastry into the shape of a gun.
The county Board of Education notified the family’s attorney Thursday by e-mailed letter that it will refer the high-profile disciplinary case to a hearing examiner for an evidentiary hearing. The date has not yet been set, according to the letter.
The family has been seeking to clear the school records of the boy, who was 7 years old and in second grade at Park Elementary School at the time of the incident. He has already served a suspension. School officials allege he pointed the gun-shaped pastry at other students.
— Donna St. George