On Wednesday, a federal judge denied a request from former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s lawyers to postpone his first court appearance and arraignment this Friday, as one of his lawyers was out of the country.
On Tuesday, McDonnell and his wife were indicted on 14 felony counts related to corruption. The charges stemmed from a federal investigation into the lavish benefits the family received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams that were allegedly in exchange for access to McDonnell and his top advisers.
McDonnell’s defense team argued that since lawyer Henry W. Asbill is outside the United States to celebrate his wife’s birthday, it would be difficult for him to return before Friday, January 24. They requested the arraignment be held on Friday, January 31, as important arguments would be made at the arraignment, and Asbill is a critical part of McDonnell’s defense team.
As The Washington Post noted, after U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Novak on Wednesday “indicated on a conference call that McDonnell’s initial appearance would proceed as planned,” McDonnell’s lawyers then immediately withdrew their request to postpone the arraignment.
Because that request was denied, McDonnell will be arraigned in federal court in Richmond on Friday as scheduled. If convicted on all charges, McDonnell and his wife will face a maximum of 80 years in jail and at least $1.25 million in fines.