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McDonnells Make First Court Appearance, Plead Not Guilty To Corruption Charges

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Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, right, and his wife, Maureen, left, are surrounded by family and supporters as they leave Federal court in Richmond, Va., Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. McDonnell and his wife pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges that they traded their influence for tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and loans, and both will be allowed to remain free until their trial.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, right, and his wife, Maureen, left, are surrounded by family and supporters as they leave Federal court in Richmond, Va., Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. McDonnell and his wife pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges that they traded their influence for tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and loans, and both will be allowed to remain free until their trial.

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.

The court held bond and arraignment hearings on numerous conspiracy, fraud, and other charges relating to the McDonnells receiving gifts from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. If convicted of each charge at the maximum penalty, both could spend the rest of their lives in prison.

They walked in the courtroom hand and hand, and confident, until the judge read off the charges — 12 shared, and a separate one for each. A dozen carry a maximum penalty of 20 years. Their jury trial has been set for July 28.

Earlier in the day, both were released on their own recognizance as they await trial. A federal magistrate judge ordered them not to leave the country and issued a strong warning not to interact with the news media.

Many supporters attended the hearings, including high-ranking lawmakers and House Courts of Justice Committee Chairman Del. David Albo.

"I don't abandon my friends when times are tough," Albo says. "It's more important to go to your friend's dad's funeral than it is to go to his wedding, right? So I just wanted to make sure that Bob knew that his friends were there and if he needs to call on us, we're here."

Albo and others say they just don't believe the McDonnells are guilty of any crimes. Both judges assured the defendants that the cases will NOT be tried in the media but by a jury. Attorneys expect the trial to last five to six weeks.

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