The 14-count, 43-page federal indictment details how the couple accepted more than $135,000 in gifts, loans and trips from the former CEO of Star Scientific, Jonnie Williams, also a political donor.
In exchange, the indictment claims the Governor and his office were helping promote the company’s struggling dietary supplement business and attempted to conceal the scheme.
The indictment also asserts the McDonnells lied on loan applications about their debts.
In a statement, McDonnell maintains he did nothing illegal, and returned gifts and loans to Williams. McDonnell says he will use every available resource to fight false allegations.
If the charges do result in convictions and maximum sentences, it could mean fines in excess of a million dollars, and decades behind bars.
McDonnell is the first governor in Virginia to face criminal charges.