Appeals Court Denies Gov. McDonnell Request To Shield Emails

Invision for Shamrock Farms

In a blow to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), a federal appeals court panel on Wednesday rejected his request that two emails be shielded from a grand jury subpoena, according to The Washington Post.

The ruling did not name McDonnell (the appellants’ identity is under seal), but the Post obtained a copy of the ruling itself, and two people familiar with the ongoing federal investigation into the governor told the Post that the ruling was related to the case. 

The emails were written by Jasen Eige, chief counsel to the governor’s office, according to the Post. McDonnell’s attorneys had argued that they were protected by attorney-client privilege, but the three-judge panel disagreed. 

The ruling provides a rare chance to see the official workings of the ongoing investigation into McDonnell. For months, prosecutors have been probing the relationship between the McDonnell family and the Virginia businessman and political donor Jonnie Williams. Williams, the CEO of a dietary supplements company called Star Scientific, provided the McDonnells with more than $150,000 in money and gifts in 2011 and 2012. 

If charges come in the case, they are unlikely to land before the gubernatorial election next month in Virginia in which Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is running against Democrat Terry McAuliffe, according to the Post. McDonnell is term limited and not running for re-election.