Judge: Indictment against former Va. governor McDonnell, wife ‘sufficiently detailed’


File: Former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Post)

A federal judge on Monday denied a request by former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell’s defense attorneys that prosecutors be more specific about the “official actions” they allege he performed for a wealthy Richmond area businessman in exchange for loans and expensive gifts.

U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer wrote that prosecutors’ 43-page indictment against McDonnell and his wife was “sufficiently detailed” and they need not produce a so-called “bill of particulars” to define the official actions the couple allegedly performed or promised to perform for Richmond businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr.

The indictment alleges that McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, lent the prestige of the governor’s office to Williams and Star Scientific, a dietary supplement company Williams used to run, in exchange for loans and gifts totaling at least $165,000.

To prove the corruption ­charges, the government must show that the couple performed or agreed to perform “official” acts to benefit Williams. What counts as an official act will likely be the subject of debate at trial.

Spencer last week had rejected other filings from the McDonnells’ attorneys asking that prosecutors immediately turn over a variety of documents in the case. He will hear arguments in Richmond Tuesday on two other requests from defense attorneys, one to see the instructions given to grand jurors and another to resume a related civil lawsuit involving Williams that prosecutors successfully sought to put on hold.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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