McDonnell’s defense fund raised $11,554 in six months
By Olympia Meola, Richmond Times-Dispatch – 1/30/14
Former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s legal defense fund reported raising $11,554 between July 1 and Dec. 31.
The biggest contribution to the Restoration Fund — $5,000 — came from Stanley Baldwin, a Virginia Beach lawyer who chairs the fund, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit watchdog of money in state politics.
The second-largest donation — $2,500 — came from J. Douglas Perry of Norfolk, the founder of Dollar Tree stores.
The former governor and the former first lady have pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges stemming from their relationship with wealthy donor Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the former CEO of Star Scientific. U.S. District Judge James Spencer has set a July 28 jury trial that is expected to take five to six weeks.
According to court files, nine lawyers, most with offices in Washington, are listed as representing Bob and Maureen McDonnell. Records indicate seven appeared with the McDonnells in U.S. District Court last week.
L. Steven Emmert, a prominent Virginia Beach lawyer, said Thursday that $11,500 would not go far in such a case.
“I can safely say that if all seven lawyers were together for a brainstorming session … in two hours you would exhaust that fund,” he said.
“I don’t know all the rates of lawyers around the state but I know what the rates of many of the prominent lawyers are. Many of them run into many, many hundreds of dollars per hour, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of the ones that (the McDonnells have) might run into $1,000 an hour or maybe more,” he said.
“In the bigger cities, Washington, New York, lawyers have been billing north of $1,000 an hour for quite some time now. You won’t find that kind of rate predominating in Virginia yet, but we’re headed that way.”
He added: “I have little doubt the defense in the case could take $1,000,000.”
In all, the defense fund received six contributions of $100 or more, totaling $10,250.
The fund received $1,000 each from Nathan D. Bachman of Cincinnati, the head of The Bachman Group, an investment firm; and Aubrey Eugene Loving Jr. of Virginia Beach, a radio executive.
The fund received $500 from Thomas J. Knox Jr. of Keswick, the founder and CEO of CareFamily.com, a business that provides care for seniors.
The McDonnells are likely to appear in U.S. District Court on Monday morning. Magistrate Judge David Novak, who held the McDonnells’ bail hearing last week, has scheduled a hearing to clarify rules on whom the McDonnells may speak with about the case.