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McDonnell seeks approval to talk with potential witnesses

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is seeking reassurance from a judge that he can talk to family members, friends and business associates he might call as witnesses in his defense of federal corruption charges.

McDonnell’s lawyers filed a motion Tuesday for clarification of his conditions of bail. The judge who allowed McDonnell and his wife to remain free awaiting trial told the couple they are to have no contact “with any witnesses or representatives of the government.”

Read literally, the order “could be interpreted as prohibiting Mr. McDonnell from having any contact with his children, his sisters, his oldest friends, and people who have worked for and with him for years,” McDonnell’s lawyers said.

McDonnell’s lawyers say they don’t believe the judge meant to impose such a broad ban on contact, so they’re asking the judge to clarify that the condition applies only to people who are exclusively witnesses of the government. McDonnell’s lawyers say they understand prosecutors do not object.

The motion is directed to U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Novak.

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