Nightly News   |  January 21, 2014

Former VA Gov.: ‘I Deeply Regret’ Accepting Loans

The former governor of Virginia and his wife were charged Tuesday with repeatedly asking for and getting illegal gifts from a businessman eager for state help in promoting his products.

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>>> the former governor of virginia and his wife were charged today with repeatedly asking for and receiving illegal gifts from a businessman eager to state -- for state help in promoting his 3r0 guess. bob mcdonald was once mentioned as a potential republican candidate for vice president or even president. prosecutors say the couple accepted more than $135,000 in direct payments and thousands more in favors. we get the story tonight from our justice correspondent pete williams .

>> reporter: the charges are a huge blow to bob mcdonald , once a rising star in the national republican party .

>> and governors know how to get things done.

>> according to a federal grand jury , the trouble started a year after he was sworn in when he and virginia's first lady began asking for favors from a businessman, johnny williams who wanted state help in promoting his line of dietary supplements made from tobacco. three years ago, mrs. mcdonald asked him to take her shopping in new york, where he spent almost $20,000 buying her dresses by oscar de la renta and louie very tone at a high end retailer, bergdorf goodman . she asked williams to pay $15,000 to cover the catering at the wedding of their daughter kaelin. mcdonalds was persuaded to make a $50,000 loan to a business the governor co-owned. that's on top of vacation trips and a rolex watch among other favors. he has consistently denied helping the company.

>> nothing has been done with regard to my relationship with mr. williams or his company, to give any kind of special benefits to him or his company.

>> and in a written statement tonight, the former governor says he deeply regrets accepting what he called legal gifts and loans, he has repaid them all with interest. but federal prosecutors say the governor and mrs. mcdonald used the prestige of their positions to try to help the company.

>> the mcdonald 's appear in federal court later this week, and say they'll plead not guilty. pete williams , nbc news, washington.