WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney has made a personal $10,000 donation to the legal defense fund for former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, who was indicted in January on federal corruption charges.
McDonnell and his wife are scheduled to face trial in July on a 14-count indictment alleging that they solicited personal favors from a Virginia businessman in exchange for more than $165,000 in loans and gifts, such as designer clothes, a Rolex watch, and catering for their daughter’s wedding reception.
The McDonnell’s have pleaded not guilty.
A Romney aide confirmed the donation, which was first reported on Tuesday by the Washington Post. The aide, who requested anonymity to discuss the donation, would not say when or why Romney made the donation.
McDonnell was a key supporter for Romney during the presidential campaign. McDonnell, who was chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2012, endorsed Romney in the run-up to the South Carolina primary. He became a key surrogate, and was among those Romney considered as his vice presidential nominee.
McDonnell also defended Romney in the hours after a controversial video surfaced in which Romney said 47 percent of Americans were dependent on government and would never vote for him.
McDonnell, who completed his four-year term in January, formed a fund to help pay for the mounting legal fees. The fund took in just under $12,000 over six months last year, before they were indicted, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in state politics.
McDonnell supporters have been soliciting contributions, estimating that the legal defense could top $1 million.Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.