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Cuccinelli Allowed To Recuse Himself From Chef's Case

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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asked to be recused in part because of his relationship with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.
Gage Skidmore:mhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/6238582161/
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asked to be recused in part because of his relationship with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

A Richmond judge has granted Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's request to withdraw from the politically charged embezzlement case against a former Virginia Executive Mansion chef.

Lawyers for Todd Schneider's — who believes he's a whistle blower — argue that because the Attorney General knew of alleged improprieties between the Governor's office and the CEO of nutritional supplements-maker Star Scientific, the attorney general's office should not have filed the charges against Schneider to begin with, and the case should be dismissed.

Judge Margaret Spencer delayed ruling on that until the new prosecutor can review the case.

Schneider claims that Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams broke ethics laws by paying the catering bill for the wedding of Gov. Bob McDonnell's daughter. McDonnell says he understands the concerns.

"I would never want to do anything that would have someone question whether my judgment is affected by a donation. But the essence of our free enterprise system and our campaign system is that campaigns are 100 percent funded and our PACs are 100 percent funded by individual citizens," McDonnell says. "My job as governor is to make sure that every citizen is treated the same way regardless of friendships, regardless of contributions that have been made."

Cuccinelli had asked to recuse himself, in part, because his office would face a conflict with state employees who may be called as witnesses.

The next hearing has been set for May 14.

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