Regardless of the legal outcome, the issues surrounding a former chef from the governor's mansion and gifts from the CEO of a company called Star Scientific may take a political toll on the state's top Republicans.
Lloyd Snook is a member of the Democratic party's state central committee, the fifth district committee and former chairman of Charlottesville's Democrats. He is also a lawyer and a veteran political observer who is not sure whether an FBI probe and a trial involving the governor's former chef could take a political toll on the state's top Republicans. It all depends, he says, on whether the public can figure out a fairly complicated story.
"Basically, what it boils down to is this: At a time when Star Scientific was suing the state to get back about $1 million in taxes and interest, the president of Star Scientific was giving to the attorney general and to the family of the governor a lot of expensive gifts that weren t getting properly reported," Snook says.
If that's the message voters get from the media, Snook says, it could hurt Ken Cuccinelli's bid to become governor and damage Bob McDonnell's political future, but recent polls by the Washington Post suggests there has been no damage yet.
Fifty-nine percent of registered voters think McDonnell has high personal, moral and ethical standards, and Ken Cuccinelli leads his Democratic opponent for governor by 10 percentage points among likely voters.