Bob McDonnell decries ‘unjust overreach’
By: Jose DelReal
January 21, 2014 07:36 PM EST
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Tuesday evening vehemently defended himself against accusations that he accepted illegal gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams, calling prosecutorial action against him “overreach” by the federal government and vowing to fight the charges.
“I will use every available resource and advocate that I have for as long as it takes to fight and prevail against these false allegations and the unjust overreach of the federal government,” the former governor said in a press conference.
He made the remarks the day he and his wife, Maureen, were indicted in a 14-count federal indictment in the gift-giving scandal.
McDonnell, who left office earlier this month, did not explicitly deny accepting the gifts from Williams, but did stand firmly behind the legality of those transactions.
“While I deeply regret accepting these legal gifts and loans from Mr. Williams, all of these now have been returned or repaid with interest,” McDonnell said in a press conference. “I repeat again emphatically that I did nothing illegal for Mr. Williams in return for what I believed was his personal friendship and his generosity.
McDonnell also stressed during the news conference Tuesday that Williams did not receive any “tangible benefits” in return for financial favors from Williams.
“My administration provided Mr. Williams the same routine courtesies and access to state government that I, and every other governor before me, afforded to thousands of individuals, companies, charities, and other organizations whether they were donors or not,” he said.
At times striking a highly personal tone, McDonnell called the allegations a “false and wrong” attack on his public service and describing the scandal as the “most difficult and unexpected ordeal of my life.”