Friends in Need

Ex-governor charged with trading favors

The downfall began with a dress. When Bob McDonnell won the governorship of Virginia in 2009, his wife Maureen wanted something fancy to wear to the inauguration. So she made a request of a campaign donor, according to federal prosecutors: Might he buy her a designer gown for the occasion? The donor agreed. Though the arrangement was scuttled by a wary aide, Maureen McDonnell informed the donor that she would take a "rain check."

Did she ever. Over the next two years, prosecutors say, Bob and Maureen McDonnell solicited and received more than $140,000 in gifts and loans from Jonnie Williams,...

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