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Posted at 5:11 PM ET, 01/13/2011

McDonnell: Hamilton indictment 'tragedy' and 'sad'

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday that the federal indictment of his longtime former colleague in the House of Delegates, Phillip A. Hamilton, is a "tragedy on many levels."

"I served with Delegate Hamilton for a long time. I knew him and his wife a long time. They both served in various positions of state government very well,'' McDonnell told reporters. "It's a tragedy on many levels. He certainly has pleaded not guilty and deserves, as any defendant would, to have his day in court. It's obviously sad knowing the Hamilton family for a long time to see this come to where it is."

Hamilton (R-Newport News), one of the most powerful delegates in the House, pleaded not guilty to federal bribery and extortion charges in a Richmond courtroom Thursday.

"Obviously if any person violates the public trust, than they should be appropriately prosecuted and punished,'' McDonnell said. "None of us is above the law, whether governor, whether you're a high school dropout. We're all the same in the eyes of the law. That's the way it ought to be."

Hamilton is accused of seeking a job at Norfolk's Old Dominion University in exchange for obtaining state funding for the school.

"We're fortunate. We have overall exceptionally clean, good government in Virginia,'' McDonnell said. "It's got the confidence of the people on both sides of the aisle whether we may disagree on some policy issues. People generally look as Virginia as a model for good, clean, honest, ethical government. I'm very proud to be part of that."

By Anita Kumar  | January 13, 2011; 5:11 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell  
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