Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 13, 2014 – Corruption charges against a former Virginian governor and his spouse could push their marital issues into the spotlight.
As court-bound corruption scandals go, the trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell that began July 28 seems a generally familiar tale. As usual, a once-promising politician’s career has been torn asunder by allegations of financial impropriety, but his wife’s alleged direct involvement has made the case both complex and unusual. Maureen McDonnel is also facing corruption charges, and the accusations could very well put the interests of each half of the marriage at variance with those of the other.
McDonnell, a Republican who served as Virginia’s governor prior to the inauguration of the current governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, was also once the commonwealth’s attorney general. He was most recently considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate. But those lofty political predictions only floated before McDonnell became the first governor of Virginia to be charged with a crime.
The former governor and his wife are facing 14 criminal charges of public corruption and lying on financial documents. The accusations against the McDonnells center on the key charge that the couple improperly accepted trips on private planes, golf outings, expensive clothing and $120,000 in loans in exchange for helping to promote a businessman’s company. They allegedly arranged meetings for its chief executive, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., with commonwealth officials, and they even permitted the firm’s chief to stage the launch of a new product at the Executive Mansion.
The legal proceedings pivot on whether McDonnell and his wife were plotting to provide official favors in exchange for gifts they could otherwise not afford. In court, that issue could ignite debate over and invite speculation on some of the more embarrassing details of the McDonnells’ marriage.
Moreover, they may serve as a potential source for legal friction between the governor and his wife. “A courthouse is a far-from-optimal forum to air discordant marital issues,” said Lisa McDevitt, a prominent Fairfax, Virginia divorce attorney. “And a criminal case could test the ties that bind a couple even further.”
McDonnell’s attorneys will not only argue that the charges against him are baseless — among other likely talking points will be the claim that McDonnell was too well-heeled to need Williams’ largess — but also that any favors the couple enjoyed from Williams came because Maureen accepted them without her husband’s knowledge.
Typically, spousal immunity would protect one spouse from being called to testify against the other spouse by the prosecution in a criminal case. However, there are a few exceptions, including circumstances in which both halves of the couple were participants in the execution of a crime.
“The dynamics of a criminal case in which a husband and wife are both facing charges can get rather complicated,” McDevitt said. “These types of proceedings can solidify or pull apart a marriage.”
Learn more at http://www.mcdevittlaw.net
Lisa Lane McDevitt
2155 Bonaventure Drive
Vienna, VA 22181
Toll Free: 866-602-7850
- Watching for deception: Bitcoin may be used to conceal assets in divorce
Increasingly, divorcing spouses who wish to conceal their assets are turning to electronic currencies like Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the most popular of a host of computer-generated currencies that are used to buy all manner of goods and services. It rivals cash in terms of its anonymity and surpasses it in its ease of transfer and […]
- Extra estate planning support may be necessary for those with dementia
Disabilities that sometimes develop with age can inhibit long-term planning skills. If you deal with such a condition, you may need to adjust your plans for the future so that they can support you and adhere to your wishes under any circumstance. The best advice is simply to start early. If Alzheimer’s or another form […]
- When estate planning involves minor children, a testamentary trust may be the best option
One of the advantages of a living trust is that the assets held within it are not subject to probate, which can be a complicated, drawn-out and costly process. As such, many people automatically choose living trusts as they plan their estates. But there is another type of trust: a testamentary trust. While probate is […]
- Good estate planning depends on good communication with loved ones
Because estate planning involves preparation for the disposition of assets after death, people often feel uncomfortable discussing it. It can be especially challenging for people to face planning with their children. But serious challenges can arise from a lack of communication between estate grantors and their children (their most likely beneficiaries and executors) before death […]
- When Mediation Is Not the Best Way to Resolve a Divorce
Divorce proceedings can be expensive as well as time-consuming and emotionally draining on the main parties involved. An array of issues, including the division of property, child custody, alimony and other items of contention can prove to be the catalyst for a contentious, drawn-out affair in court. Mediation is often suggested as a viable alternative […]
- Where There Is a Valid Will There Is a Proper Way to File in Probate Court
The term probate may evoke foreboding thoughts among many who hear it, but essentially the word means the act of validating and recording the will of a deceased person with the court that has jurisdiction. In the case of the commonwealth of Virginia, that court is the Circuit Court, and it is the proper filing […]