Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Gregory Underwood will now handle the state embezzlement case of a former Executive Mansion chef. That’s because a Richmond circuit court judge has agreed to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s request to withdraw from the case. But it’s not certain yet whether the chef who believes he’s a whistleblower will have to go to trial.
Todd Schneider’s lawyers argued that because the Attorney General knew of alleged improprieties between the Governor’s office and the CEO of nutritional supplements-maker Star Scientific, the Attorney General’s office should not have filed the charges against Schneider to begin with, and the case should be dismissed.
Judge Margaret Spencer delayed ruling on that until the new prosecutor can review the case. Schneider claims that Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams broke ethics laws by paying the catering bill for the wedding of McDonnell’s daughter.
The AG had asked to recuse himself, in part, because his office would face a conflict with state employees who may be called as witnesses. The next hearing has been set for May 14.