Romney Donates $10,000 to McDonnell Legal Defense Fund

Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 05:57 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Mitt Romney has donated $10,000 to former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell's legal defense fund to show his support for his longtime ally and friend, an aide confirmed Tuesday.

"Gov. McDonnell became a true and trusted friend and ally through the good times and the bad times in the last campaign," Ron Kaufman, a friend and adviser for Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, told The Washington Post.

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted in January by a federal grand jury and charged with accepting bribes in the form of money and gifts from the chief executive of a dietary supplements maker.

They are accused of accepting more than $165,000 in gifts from Jonnie Williams, the head of supplements-maker Star Scientific Inc., including cash, golf fees and clothing and in exchange arranging for company executives to meet government officials who could help their business. They are scheduled to face trial in July.

McDonnell, as the head of the Republican Governors Association in 2012, endorsed Romney heading into the South Carolina primary, and the two men often campaigned together through Virginia and other swing states.

"[McDonnell] did a great job running the RGA, he did a great job running Virginia and Mitt has a very special place in his heart for Governor McDonnell," said Kaufman. "He wanted to help him at a time when he needed help, just as Governor McDonnell would do for Mitt if he needed help."

The donation is only a small fraction of what the McDonnells will need to finance their legal battle. The "Restoration Fund," formed by McDonnell and his supporters to raise money for his defense, raised about $11,400 last year.

Fund officials last week appealed again for donations, saying it will cost a "ruinous" amount — an estimated $1 million — to pay McDonnell's legal fees and for housing, transcripts, experts, and other associated costs, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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