<![CDATA[NBC New York - Politics]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:11:31 -0400 Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:11:31 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Rival Gets Hands on Campaign Book]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 01:14:44 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/carl+demaio+scott+peters.JPG

A new bombshell dropped Friday in the race for California’s 52nd Congressional District when both candidates confirmed a Carl DeMaio campaign strategy book, allegedly stolen during an office break-in, found its way into the hands of incumbent Scott Peters’ staff.

It is the latest revelation in an already ugly race peppered with attack ads and sexual harassment allegations.

The two had a chilly meeting Friday morning at a taping of NBC 7’s Politically Speaking, as DeMaio walked right by Peters’ hand outstretched for a handshake.

During the session, DeMaio discussed the burglary and vandalism at his campaign headquarters on May 28. Cords and cables were cut, water was poured over laptops and printers, computer screens were smashed in and one important item was taken: DeMaio’s campaign playbook.

The candidate confronted Peters about the book on “Politically Speaking.”

“And Mr. Peters, I just want to ask a very simple question. Did your campaign come into possession of our strategy book, all of our direct mail pieces in the last five months?” asked DeMaio.

Peters responded with: “In early June, information was forwarded to our campaign which we immediately turned over to the police.”

DeMaio pressed the issue, asking Peters why he did not let his opponent’s campaign know that he had seen DeMaio’s playbook all along.

“I’ve obviously never seen it,” said Peters. “We turned it directly over to the police within 24 hours of getting it because what was contained in it was potentially part of a criminal investigation.”

He added his campaign manager “looked at it enough to know what it was.”

On Friday evening, Peters' Communciation Director Alex Roth sent out the following statement about the revelation:

"To clarify, we do not know what a campaign playbook is; nor has our campaign ever received anything that could be characterized as 'a campaign playbook' as Mr. DeMaio called it. To reiterate, our campaign staff received information in early June that we immediately transmitted in its entirety to the police.This is nothing more than an attempt by Mr. DeMaio to divert attention away from the Filner-esque sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him.”

During the show's taping, Peters said he felt as if he had been cast as the perpetrator of the break-in, which was portrayed with Watergate-like overtones when it first happened.

DeMaio told his opponent he does not believe Peters had anything to do with the burglary.

Instead, he blames former aide Todd Bosnich.

Bosnich has publicly accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him while he worked for the former San Diego City Councilman, releasing the results of a polygraph test that he says support his claims.

Called the allegations “outrageous lies,” DeMaio said Bosnich is trying to get revenge for being fired as a suspect in the break-in.

However, the candidate said he will not take a polygraph exam to rebut Bosnich’s allegations.

CNN reports Bosnich's lawyers sent the news outlet the results to a second polygraph test Friday in which Bosnich was asked if he broke into the campaign headquarters last May. The test shows Bosnich's "no" answers were "truthful and found "no deception."

Bosnich confirmed the story to NBC 7 via text message.

DeMaio's spokesman David McCulloch defended the candidate, saying in a statement, "Both Carl DeMaio and Tommy Knepper — named in a series of vile smear attacks — have taken lie detector tests that have shown these smears are baseless. Meanwhile, Mr. Peters admitted on NBC7/39 this morning that his campaign received stolen property from our campaign — begging the question: who provided this sensitive campaign material?"  

You can watch the full DeMaio-Peters debate during the full half-hour edition of “Politically Speaking” on NBC 7 Sunday morning at 9 a.m., following “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd.

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<![CDATA[Campaign Ad Featuring James Foley Pulled]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:58:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tlmd_james_foley_ejecucion_isis_syria.jpg

A conservative ad campaign that featured James Foley, the New Hampshire journalist slain by ISIS, moments before his execution, will be pulled, the group responsible for the ad said.

Secure America Now President Allen Roth said in a statement that his group didn't intend to upset Foley's family with the ad attacking Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and that they "apologize for any pain we inadvertently caused.“

“It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down," the statement continued. “The purpose of the video was to draw attention to Washington’s failure to secure our borders from real threats by terrorists. That remains our objective and we will continue to engage in this public debate.”

Foley, a Rochester native, was beheaded by Islamic State militants in August, nearly two years after he was kidnapped in Syria. His parents say the ad was "deplorable" and told NECN in an emotional interview that they were demanding that the ad be pulled from New Hampshire.

Secure America Now used the image in a 15-second Internet ad attacking Shaheen, who is locked in a tight race against Republican Scott Brown, and other Democratic incumbents in critical Senate races nationwide.

"It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son's death for their own political purposes," Mrs. Foley said.

Shaheen issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon condemning the ad.

"This is a disgraceful ad that dishonors the memory of a respected journalist and New Hampshire native," she said. "It hurts all who loved and knew Jim, and the people behind this ad owe the Foley family and apology."

According to Elizabeth Guyton, communications director for Scott Brown, Brown said, "This is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Foley family.”

Roth says the group did not contact the Foley family before making the ad public.

Secure America Now emphasized that the Foley execution video and the image have been used in other campaigns across the country several different times.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NY Gov Candidates Talk Ebola]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:10:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cuomo+astorino1.jpg Ebola has become a hot potato in the New York governor’s race. As Gov. Cuomo convened a meeting to show how prepared New York state is, his Republican opponent accused him of putting political correctness ahead of the safety of New Yorkers. Melissa Russo reports.]]> <![CDATA[Astorino Challenges Supporters to Question Cuomo for Cash]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:25:01 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/astorino+cuomo+challenge.jpg Short on cash? Willing to ask politicians some tough questions? You may make $1,000. It’s the latest bizarre twist in the race for governor in New York. Government Affairs Reporter Melissa Russo explains]]> <![CDATA[Last Day to Register to Vote in New Jersey]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 12:23:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Voting-Sign-Generic-Ballot-1.jpg

With Election Day less than a month away, Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote in New Jersey.

Information on where to register in person can be found here. Voter registration applications are also available online.

To register voters must be 18 years old by the Nov. 4 election and a resident of New Jersey for 30 days prior to the election. Voters must also be U.S. citizens and cannot be currently serving a sentence, probation or parole because of a felony conviction.

New Jersey voters this year will decide on a U.S. Senate race, two proposed constitutional amendments and a dozen congressional races.

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<![CDATA[NH Lawmaker Calls Congresswoman "Ugly as Sin"]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:22:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Steve+Vaillancourt.jpg

Candidates for New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District are speaking out after a state lawmaker described one of them as "ugly as sin."

The story has gained national attention and has both candidates denouncing the remarks. Republican state Representative Steven Vaillancourt wrote a blog post on Friday after he says he saw a poll that claimed more attractive candidates have the upper hand with voters.

In the blog, he wrote, "Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin?"

Vaillancourt then compared her to a drag queen.

"Look, it's rude and offensive," Congresswoman Kuster said. "But I have a thick skin."

Kuster's Republican challenger, Marilinda Garcia, said the post was just plain mean.

"She doesn't deserve to be treated that way," Garcia said.

Congresswoman Kuster said Vaillancourt's comments reflect a broader issue with the Republican Party.

"I am more frustrated with the positions they stand for, and frankly, that leads to an environment where people say disrespectful things," Kuster said.

Garcia said she is frustrated that exactly three weeks before the election, the conversation has turned to this.

"Looks and appearance seem to supersede commentary and observation and the other things that are more important," Garcia said.

In Vaillancourt's blog, he called Garcia, "One of the most attractive women on the political scene anywhere."

Garcia, who has worked with Vaillancourt during her four terms as a state representative, said the comments are not surprising and she is not at all flattered.

"He certainly is an equal opportunity offender," Garcia said.

NECN tried to reach Vaillancourt for comment, but no one answered when crews knocked at his Manchester home. He later sent an email referring NECN to his latest blog entry, which was posted Monday evening. Vaillancourt answers reporters' questions about whether or not he stands by his statements, writing, "Stand by the fact that Ms. Garcia is better looking than Ms. Kuster? If the reporters themselves don't see that, then they should question their own abilities to function."

In that same blog, Vaillancourt makes it clear, none of this is about supporting his party affiliation. In fact, he went on to criticize Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

"Anyone who has followed what I've written (more than 500 posts this past year) knows that neither looks nor race nor sexual orientation nor sex matters a whit to me," Vaillancourt wrote.

As for the 2nd Congressional District Race, the most recent poll shows Kuster with a two point lead over Garcia.



Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Gubernatorial Politics at Columbus Day Parade]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:40:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/russo+astorino+parade.jpg Italian pride ruled Fifth Avenue on Monday at New York City’s Columbus Day Parade, and when there’s a parade in New York, we know politicians are often right there too -- that included Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who’s vying to defeat Cuomo next month. Both are Italian-American. Melissa Russo reports.]]> <![CDATA[Clinton Recommends Grandmotherhood]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 20:39:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tlmd_hillaryclinton7.jpg

Thousands waited hours in the sun to see Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday in South Florida.

Clinton was signing copies of her new book "Hard Choices" at Books & Books at 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables.

There, she spoke about her book and about becoming a grandmother just a few days ago, saying, "I highly recommend it!"

Earlier on Thursday, Clinton spoke at the Crew Network Convention & Marketplace at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach.

Her message for the 1,200 professional women at the event was one of empowerment.

"You can't get tied into knots by what others say and think, because we all know women sometimes get judged by different criteria -- even powerful women in powerful positions," she said.

Karyl Argamasilla, with the Miami Crew chapter, said she took Clinton's message to heart.

"At the end of the day, she's someone who has broken all the glass ceilings," Argamasilla said.

At one point, a woman in the audience shouted out, "2016!" -- the only mention of a possible presidential run during Clinton's Miami stops. But those in attendance said they don't doubt she'll be joining the race.

"She's already been to Iowa," said Steve Sails. "She's running."

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<![CDATA[CA Plastic Bag Ban Approved]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:23:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/212*120/Plastic+Bag+Ban+Store+Counter+copy.jpg

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags Tuesday.

The measure, first proposed by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, would prohibit single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large pharmacies in 2015 and at convenience stores in 2016.

It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge 10 cents each for paper and reusable bags.

The bill had sparked one of the most contentious debates in the last weeks of the legislative session, with aggressive lobbying by environmentalists and bag manufacturers.

Moments after Brown signed the measure, the American Progressive Bag Alliance called it a “back room deal between grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit – all under the guise of environmentalism.”

The group plans to launch a referendum effort for the November 2016 ballot to repeal the measure.

San Diegan Laura Quinn-Stalker had mixed feelings about the news.

“Although I reuse my plastic bags constantly and will miss that,” she posted to NBC 7’s Facebook page, “I think this is important to do.”

“Won't see a dime saved in my pocket. Now, I have to buy garbage bags,” Oxnard resident Wade Wilson posted.

For years, a statewide plastic bag ban has been an elusive goal for lawmakers trying to reduce the buildup of plastic waste in oceans and waterways that costs millions of dollars to cleanup.

About 100 local jurisdictions in California already have adopted similar bans, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mayoral Aide's Relationship With Convict Scrutinized]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 10:14:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/noerdlinger.jpg

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the police union reacted Friday to a published report that the boyfriend of a senior adviser to the mayor is a convicted killer and interstate drug trafficker whose also ran over a New Jersey police officer while driving her car last year.

Chief of staff to first lady Chirlane McCray, Rachel Noerdlinger, has been in a relationship with Hassaun McFarlan since 2010 and the two have lived together for nearly two years, DNAInfo.com reported Thursday.

The 36-year-old McFarlan has been arrested at least five times, and was convicted in the fatal 1993 shooting of a teenager over a down jacket, the site said.

Two of the arrests occurred after McFarlan began dating Noerdlinger, a former aide to the Rev. Al Sharpton, according to the site. 

McFarlan also allegedly referred to police officers as "pigs" on his Facebook account.

Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said Noerdlinger should never have been hired to work in the de Blasio administration. 

"New York City police officers are not allowed to associate with known criminals," he said. "If we are, we get disciplined, and we should." 

Lynch added, "The hateful language he uses on websites toward police officers, what kind of guidance is this staff member giving the mayor and the first lady?"

 

On Friday, the mayor defended Noerdlinger, saying she was in no danger of losing her job and that it would be "ludicrous" to fire someone over statements made by their boyfriend.

"I have absolute faith in her," De Blasio said. "I know what I value and she values the same thing. We need a close relationship between police and communities."

City Hall spokeswoman Rebecca Katz said in a statement earlier, "No one at City Hall condones criminal behavior or disparagement of the NYPD, including Rachel. Rachel is her own person. She is a strong, independent woman who possesses a core set of values and beliefs that align with this administration. She is not going anywhere."

Noerdlinger's attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said her work was in no way affected by her relationship with McFarlan.

"She doesn't share all of the opinions of Hassaun McFarlan and anyone who has ever had any contact with her knows Rachel to be an incredibly hard-working, kind, respectful professional." Lichtman said. "She stands on her own and always has."

Before working for the mayor's office, Noerdlinger worked with Sharpton's National Action Network for more than a decade.

Michael Hardy of the NAN said he fully supports Noerdlinger and McFarlan's relationship.

"He seems like a great guy, and more than that, what are we if we're not a nation of second chances and redemption?" he said. 

Follow Danielle Elias on Twitter @danielle4ny



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cuomo Easily Leads Governor's Race ]]> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:59:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cuomo-new-split-astorino.jpg

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is still leading the race for governor handily, in a re-election race in which his Republican opponent Rob Astorino is increasingly seen as a conservative, a Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll released Tuesday found.

Cuomo, who is running for a second term, is ahead of Astorino 54 percent to 29 percent among likely voters, while 9 percent chose the Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.

In a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1, Astorino, the Westchester County executive, is considered a conservative among 40 percent of registered voters, up from the 27 percent who viewed him that way in July.

"Cuomo’s winning the battle to define Astorino on terms Cuomo would like," said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. Miringoff said he was "struck by the success of the Cuomo campaign in targeting and to some degree tarnishing Astorino as he’s getting better known."

A striking 57 percent of Astorino backers said they saw their vote for Astorino as a vote against Cuomo. By contrast, 74 percent of Cuomo’s backers said they would vote for the governor because they supported him.

The race is competitive upstate, where Cuomo has 42 percent of likely voters and Astorino, 39 percent.

But Cuomo holds a two-to-one lead in the suburbs, 56 percent to 27 percent. Seventy percent of voters in heavily Democratic New York City back Cuomo, compared to 15 percent for Astorino.

Cuomo also has the support of 27 percent of registered Republicans who have crossed party lines to back him, while only 11 percent of Democrats back Astorino.

The governor’s lead comes despite a 42-percent job approval rating among registered voters, his lowest since he took office and down from a high of 59 percent two years ago. Only 43 percent think the state is headed in the right direction, and 57 percent believe the state is still in a recession.

“There’s just a general grumpiness that voters have towards government, politicians and their job performance,” Miringoff said. “This is not unique to New York but we’re seeing it also in New York.”

But at the same time, Miringoff said, voters view Cuomo as a leader and believe that he cares about them and represents most regions of the state.

Fifty-five percent of likely voters view Cuomo favorably, compared to 33 percent for Astorino. By contrast, 39 percent have an unfavorable view of Cuomo, while 37 percent look unfavorably on Astorino.

Tuesday's poll is the first in the governor’s race that surveys likely voters as opposed to registered voters, and the first since Cuomo’s Democratic primary victory over a Zephyr Teachout, a little-known liberal challenger who nonetheless garnered about a third of the vote.

Any concerns that Cuomo might hit a rough patch following the primary are not showing up, Miringoff said.

“Astorino is having difficulty getting traction at this point,” Miringoff said.

Cuomo had already been leading Astorino by a wide margin. A poll last month found that although a majority of New Yorkers thought Cuomo’s staff behaved unethically toward a panel investigating corruption in government, he continued to lead Astorino, 54 to 23 percent, among registered voters.

The poll released Tuesday surveyed 958 registered voters from Sept. 17 through Sunday. There were 517 likely voters among them.



Photo Credit: AP ]]>
<![CDATA[Cuomo, Teachout Prepare for Primary]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:18:32 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/zephyr+teachout+sept+8.jpg Decision 2014 begins Tuesday in New York with the Democratic primary for governor. Gov. Cuomo critic and Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout’s long-shot campaign is threatening to disrupt what many believed to be an easy reelection for Cuomo. Government Affairs Reporter Melissa Russo reports.]]> <![CDATA[Meet Chuck Todd of "Meet the Press"]]> Sat, 06 Sep 2014 09:22:40 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/090714_LSP_Chuck_Todd_1200x675_325741123764.jpg

Chuck Todd makes his debut as moderator of "Meet the Press" on Sunday, and has landed President Barack Obama as his first guest. On Friday, Todd took to Reddit to introduce himself.

The Miami native, who attended George Washington University, was previously NBC’s chief White House correspondent and political director. Despite his years in Washington, the sports lover remains committed to teams outside D.C.; he has been a fan of the Miami Hurricanes and the Green Bay Packers since birth.

Here, from his Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” are five things we learned about the famed political junkie.

When will he shave his facial hair?

Don’t hold your breath — even if, as suggested, it would improve his ratings. When he looks in the mirror, he sees his late father, he says. Shaving his beard would be like getting rid of that piece of his father that he carries with him

Who is one person, now dead, that he would have loved to have interviewed?

Richard Nixon, because it would have been a challenge

How does he see his role as a reporter and moderator?

His job is to push back against bloviation and talking points by being grounded in facts, and to get to the nut of the debate.

How does he feel about his name?

He hates having two one syllable names, and has given both of his children multiple-syllable first names. “I’ve been ‘ChuckTodd’ with every coach and teacher during my childhood,” he wrote on Reddit.

Does he ever get nervous interviewing high profile guests?

He's always a tad nervous. "Any moment can be a career ender," he wrote.

What did he think about the University of Louisville’s football win over Miami on Monday?

His late father-in-law was a star quarterback at Louisville, so criticism of Louisville is off-limits in his house. He’s not upset about Louisville, he says, but about the University of Miami being unprepared.
“It’s time for the ‘State of Miami’ to return, meaning that the best players in the best high school football factories in the country go to Miami,” he wrote.

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<![CDATA[McDonnells Guilty on Most Charges]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 18:16:31 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mcdonnell-guilty-AP977255973421.jpg

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have been found guilty of most of the public corruption charges they faced in a marathon trial centered on lavish gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman.

The former governor has been found guilty of 11 of the 13 charges against him. Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell has been found guilty of nine of the 13 charges against her.

It was a bombshell ending to a trial that included the dissection of the former first couple's marriage, testimony that Bob had moved out and was living with a priest, and testimony that Maureen had begun frequently texting and emailing the businessman in the case, Jonnie Williams, who wanted help promoting his dietary supplement.

Three of the McDonnells' five children clutched each others' hands and prayed before the verdict was announced, breaking into sobs as their parents' guilty counts were read aloud.

The couple's son Bobby McDonnell looked at his father with tear-glazed eyes as the former governor's head collapsed into his hands.

Bob McDonnell is "broken" and "devastated," said defense attorney Henry Asbill, who added that he would appeal the verdict.

The government had accused the McDonnells of doing special favors for Williams, the former CEO of dietary supplement maker Star Scientific, Inc., in exchange for more than $177,000 in gifts and loans.

Courtroom observers said two jurors wiped their eyes as the verdicts were read.

As co-defendants, the former first couple was separated in the courtroom, with three lawyers sitting between them. Maureen McDonnell teared up, but appeared composed compared to the emotional reactions of her husband and children.

The McDonnells didn't look at each other as the verdict was read. They left the Richmond courthouse together but got into separate cars. It was a marked difference from the rest of the trial, which verged into soap opera territory as defense lawyers suggested that the McDonnells' marriage was so broken they could not have conspired to obtain gifts, trips and loans from Williams.

Throughout the trial, Bob McDonnell had appeared confident, telling reporters repeatedly that he was sure he would be exonerated and was putting his faith in God.

"All I can say is my trust remains in the Lord," he said in a brief statement as he left the courthouse Thursday with Maureen, before they got into separate cars.

McDonnell, who was once considered a rising GOP star and potential vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney in 2012, now faces, along with his wife, up to 30 years in federal prison when they're sentenced in January.

"This is a difficult and disappointing day for the Commonwealth and its citizens," said Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. "Public service frequently requires sacrifice, and almost always requires financial sacrifice. When public officials turn to financial gain in exchange for official acts, we have no choice but to prosecute the case."

Bob McDonnell is the first former governor of Virginia to be convicted of a crime. The commonwealth had long had a reputation for clean politics, a reputation shattered in the five-week McDonnell trial.

Political analyst Bob Holsworth called it "a day of infamy in Virginia."

The Verdict, Count by Count

Bob and Maureen McDonnell were each charged with 13 counts in a 14-count indictment:

  • In the first count against them, the McDonnells were found guilty of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud for accepting gifts and loans from Williams.

  • The next three charges, counts 2-4, involved accepting checks from Williams: On counts 2 and 3, the McDonnells were both found guilty of honest-services wire fraud for accepting a $15,000 check to pay a caterer for their daughter's wedding, and for accepting a $50,000 loan check for MoBo Real Estate, a company the former governor operated with his sister.

  • On count 4, Bob McDonnell was also found guilty of a count of honest-services wire fraud for a $20,000 wire transfer for MoBo. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty on that charge.

  • On count 5, the McDonnells were found guilty of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right for the gifts and loans they received.

  • The McDonnells also faced six charges of obtaining property under color of official right, counts 6-11: On counts 6-8, they were found guilty of three charges of obtaining property under color of official right for a $50,000 check to Maureen, for the $15,000 check to the wedding caterer, and for a $2,380 golf outing.

  • On count 9, Bob McDonnell was found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for a $1,424 golf outing. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty of that charge.

  • On count 10, both McDonnells were found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for the $50,000 check to MoBo.

  • On count 11, Bob McDonnell was found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for the $20,000 transfer to MoBo. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty of that charge.

  • Only Bob McDonnell was charged with count 12. He was found not guilty of making false statements on a TowneBank loan application.

  • In count 13, both McDonnells were found not guilty of making false statements on a PenFed loan application.

  • Only Maureen McDonnell was charged with count 14. She was found guilty of obstruction of official proceeding for a handwritten note to Williams.

They will be sentenced Jan. 6, 2015.

Inside the Testimony

The trial centered on the testimony of the former governor and Williams, the prosecution's star witness. Maureen McDonnell did not take the stand.

Williams was granted immunity for his dealings with the McDonnells and possible securities fraud violations, which had been investigated by a separate grand jury. He testified that he spent lavishly on the McDonnells to secure their help promoting and obtaining state-backed research for Star Scientific's tobacco-derived anti-inflammatory supplement, Anatabloc. Williams intended to share the results of that research with doctors to gain their support of the product.

Prosecutors claimed the former first couple had an "unconscionable amount" of credit card debt and presented testimony that they were eager to accept gifts from Williams, including a $6,500 Rolex watch that Maureen gave Bob for Christmas, a vacation at Williams’ luxurious home on Smith Mountain Lake outside Roanoke, use of Williams' Ferrari and a shopping spree for designer clothes and accessories for Maureen.

Testimony showed Williams loaned $50,000 to Maureen McDonnell that she used to pay down credit debt in 2011. He also loaned $50,000 and $20,000 to MoBo Real Estate, a small company that Bob McDonnell and one of his sisters ran to operate two beach properties.

Prosecutors also said Williams paid $15,000 in catering expenses when one of the McDonnells' daughters got married. And they claimed Maureen had developed a close relationship with Williams, exchanging more than 1,200 texts and calls over a nearly two-year period, including 52 in one day.

In his defense, Bob McDonnell testified he did nothing more than extend routine political courtesies to Williams. Before the indictment, he had apologized for what he described as bad judgment and said he had repaid about $120,000 in gifts and loans, but denied breaking any laws.

A key part of the defense strategy was the claim that the McDonnells couldn't have conspired, because their marriage had deteriorated to the point that Bob McDonnell had moved out and was now living with a priest, who is a family friend. Maureen McDonnell's lawyers called Williams her "favorite playmate."

Both the prosecution and the defense called Maureen volatile and emotional. One prosecution witness called her a "nut bag." Bob McDonnell himself said his wife didn't take well to the role of first lady, calling her handling of behind-the-scenes matters "a disaster." Testimony revealed staff members at the governor's mansion had threatened to resign en masse.

Judge: 'Can't Take Another Second'

After lengthy days of intense testimony -- on day four, the judge in the case said he was stopping testimony because he "can't take another second" -- the jury faced the task of deciding the McDonnells' guilt or innocence.

Judge James R. Spencer issued lengthy instructions to the jury Tuesday morning, including the warning that the testimony of a witness who is granted immunity must be more closely examined than testimony of other witnesses.

The heightened scrutiny was required to determine whether the testimony of the immunized witness is "affected by self-interest," Spencer said.

To be found guilty, Spencer said, a defendant must understand the nature of the conspiracy and deliberately join it.

However, Spencer said a conspiracy does not have to achieve its goals, which could have undercut a defense claim that Williams never received anything of substance, including the research he took preliminary steps to seek.

He also said an agreement need not be stated explicitly by the conspirators and that it didn't matter whether the defendant would have done those favors absent a bribe.

Spencer also told jurors -- who heard from three character witnesses, two for Bob McDonnell and one for his wife -- that "evidence of good character alone may create a reasonable doubt as to a defendant's guilt."



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[2016 Presidential Contenders Flock to NH]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:26:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rand-paul.jpg

It's still two months from the 2014 mid-term elections, and already numerous potential 2016 presidential candidates are flocking to New Hampshire.

Politico reported on Wednesday that GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will speak at a Generation Opportunity event on Sept. 11 and the NHGOP Unity Breakfast on Sept. 12. Both events will be held in Manchester.

This weekend brings two more Republican presidential hopefuls to the Granite State. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is scheduled to make appearances in Dover and Stratham on Saturday, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be in Concord, Manchester and Nashua on Sunday.

It was also announced last week that Donald Trump will travel to New Hampshire on Nov. 12 to speak at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communication's 12th annual First Amendment Awards.

Paul, Jindal, Cruz and Trump have all made previous trips to New Hampshire this year.

Vice President Joe Biden, a possible 2016 contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, was scheduled to speak at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Wednesday.



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<![CDATA[NYPD Sergeants' Union Blasts Brooklyn DNC Bid]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:13:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/sba+letter+anti+dnc.jpg Mayor de Blasio got blasted in print on Tuesday by the head of the NYPD’s sergeants’ union, which is urging Democrats not to choose New York City as the site of their 2016 convention. The Sergeants Benevolent Association says crime is on the rise in the city because of de Blasio’s policing policies and won’t be safe enough to host the DNC. Government Affairs Reporter Melissa Russo reports.]]>