Hopes and fears for that trial ended Wednesday, when the former chef at the Virginia governor's mansion entered a no-contest plea to charges that he embezzled food from the Virginia governor's mansion, according to multiple news reports.
Pilfering a bit of cheese, or whatever food chef Todd Schneider was charged with taking, may not seem like a big deal, but the case had big implications for both the current governor, Robert F. McDonnell, and one of the men running for governor, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, the chef will pay the state $2,300 for food he was accused of stealing for his private catering business. Jail time, under the agreement, came off the table.
Also off: A scheduled mid-October trial, which, as The Washington Post reported, "had threatened to shine a spotlight on McDonnell’s troubles, as well as Cuccinelli’s role in the case, just weeks before the November election."
In court papers, the Post reported, Schneider’s
attorneys made it known that it was the chef who first alerted
authorities last year to gifts provided by businessman Jonnie R.
Williams Sr. to McDonnell and his family.
And there was this perspective from The Richmond Times-Dispatch:
The resolution spares Gov. Bob McDonnell a potentially embarrassing public airing of his and his family’s use of mansion resources and relationship with gift-giving Star Scientific donor Jonnie Williams Sr. McDonnell still faces federal and state probes into the gifts he received from Williams.
The absence of a trial is a potentially bigger boost for GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, the attorney general who obtained an indictment of Schneider and then was allowed to withdraw from the case.