The indictment also says that after being interviewed by investigators, Maureen McDonnell tried to impede the investigation by writing a handwritten note to Williams falsely suggesting that the two had previously agreed she would return certain gifts rather than keep them.
Maureen McDonnell's first attempt to obtain help from Williams in December 2009 failed, according to the indictment. Williams allegedly agreed to buy her an Oscar de la Renta dress for the governor's inauguration, but senior staffer for the governor-elect nixed the idea. In response, she sent an email to the staffer that read:
"I need to talk to you about Inaugural clothing budget. I need answers and Bob is screaming about the thousands I'm charging up in credit card debt. We are broke and have an unconscionable amount in credit card debt already and this Inaugural is killing us!! I need answers and I need help, and I need to get this done.''
Maureen McDonnell told Williams she could not accept the dress but would take a "rain check.''
Virginia Republican lawmakers were quick to express their support for McDonnell as well as their sadness and disappointment that charges were filed. House Speaker William J. Howell and other Republican House leaders issued a statement calling McDonnell their "good friend'' and saying they were praying for the former governor and his family.
"We believe in the rule of law and are confident in the ability of our legal system to render the rightful judgment, whatever it may be,'' the statement said.
Meanwhile Democrats used the indictments to call for stricter ethics rules for lawmakers. A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation this year in reaction to McDonnell's gift scandal that would place a $250 limit on gifts to lawmakers. And new Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, signed an executive order his first day in office prohibiting gifts to the governor, his family or staff of more than $100.
"This is a sad day for Virginia, but I remain optimistic that we can work together to reform our system in order to prevent episodes like this from occurring ever again,'' McAuliffe said in a statement.
The scandal unfolded last year around the same time as a separate politically embarrassing case involving a former Executive Mansion chef who was accused of embezzlement and, in turn, accused McDonnell's children of taking mansion food and supplies for personal use. The governor later reimbursed the state and the chef pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors.
The fallout seeped into the general election, with McDonnell playing a low-key role in support of Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who lost to McAuliffe. Asked why he hadn't been more visible, McDonnell replied, "That's a question for the candidate.''
Tuesday's 14-count indictment against the McDonnells includes one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud; three counts of honest-services wire fraud; one count of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right; six counts of obtaining property under color of official right; and one count of making false statements to a federal credit union.
The former governor is also charged with an additional count of making a false statement to a financial institution, and Maureen McDonnell is charged with one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.