RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ An attorney for the wife of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says during the couple’s corruption trial that their marriage was broken and the former first lady developed a crush on a businessman who gave the McDonnells gifts and cash. The McDonnells are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for helping promote his dietary supplements company. Maureen McDonnell’s lawyer William A. Burck said Tuesday during opening statements that the former first lady was “duped” by Williams into thinking he cared for her. Burck said Williams also fooled the Department of Justice and has received immunity from a $10 million stock fraud investigation in exchange for testifying against the McDonnells. The former governor’s lawyers’ opening statements are to follow.
Earlier in the day, a federal prosecutor said the government will prove Virginia’s former governor and his wife illegally lined their pockets with gifts from a businessman who sought their influence to promote his company. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber delivered the government’s opening statement Tuesday. Aber said Jonnie Williams will testify under immunity that he initially lied to investigators when he said he was a personal friend of the McDonnells and wanted nothing in return for his generosity.
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Caldwell Butler, a five-term Republican congressman from Virginia who voted for President Richard Nixon’s impeachment, has died. Former Virginia attorney general Richard Cullen and officials with Oakey’s Funeral Service in Roanoke say Butler died Tuesday. The Roanoke resident was 89. An attorney, Butler represented Virginia’s 6th congressional district in the U.S. House from 1972 to 1982. Watergate unfolded during his first term. He helped the House Judiciary Committee draft the Nixon impeachment articles and later voted for them, admitting it took a toll on his political career. Nixon resigned in August 1974 before the full House debated his impeachment. Cullen served as Butler’s press secretary during the impeachment proceedings. Oakey’s is in charge of arrangements, which are incomplete. Butler’s wife, June, died last month.
Same-sex marriage supporters are rejoicing, but advocates of Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban say “not so fast” after a federal appeals court ruled the ban violates the U.S. Constitution. Same-sex ceremonies are not yet permitted in Virginia , and as WLNI’s Evan Jones reports, whether or when they might begin is not yet clear.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A federal appeals court has struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled Monday that state constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution. The Virginia gay marriage case is one of several that could go to the U.S. Supreme Court. In February, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban violates equal protection and due process guarantees. Lawyers for two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses appealed. The lawsuit was filed by two Norfolk men who were denied a marriage license and two Chesterfield County women whose marriage in California is not recognized by Virginia.
An environmental organization is looking for volunteers to help clean and maintain a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 50 mile stretch includes access points to scenic areas in Amherst and Nelson counties. Due to a decline in funding over the past 15 years, the National Park Service allocates just one percent of its maintenance budget to keeping up the trails. The parkway has only three employees for every 100 miles… volunteers need no qualifications except time and commitment to training. CLICK HERE to learn more about volunteering.
Lynchburg’s department of emergency services is coordinating a full-scale disaster drill for next week. Residents of the Sandusky neighborhood may hear sirens, shouting, and mock gunfire. The drill is a worst-case scenario: an active shooter at a public school. William Perrow, the watch officer for Lynchburg’s emergency operations center and an organizer of the drill, told WDBJ7 that the August 6 exercise will involve everyone from paramedics to 911 dispatchers. Lynchburg General Hospital will be involved. Mock victims will be taken to the emergency room, to simulate a mass casualty situation. Actors will play the part of teachers and students, but no children will be involved.