McDonnell prepares for legal fight

Bob McDonnell, and his wife Maureen, are gearing up for the fight of their lives. Both face a long list of federal corruption charges -- and the former governor appears ready to defend himself, against what he described "unprecedented" charges.

The former governor reacted quickly to the news that he was facing charges. He immediately released a statement defending his innocence and then looked directly into television cameras and said the Justice Department's case rests on a "misguided legal theory".

This is not how Former Governor Bob McDonnell envisioned his life after he left office.

"I come to you this evening as someone who has been falsely accused and whose public service has been wrongly attacked," McDonnell said in a Tuesday night hastily called news conference.

A stoic McDonnell- flanked by his wife Maureen who is also facing charges, and his daughter and son in law- whose wedding was a catalyst for this controversy- claimed he was in this position because of overzealous federal prosecutors.

"Federal officials in their zeal to find a basis to charge Maureen and me have decided to stretch the law to its breaking point," he said.

The lengthy indictment makes the case that McDonnell and his wife set up meetings with state officials for Jonnie Williams -- the then CEO of dietary supplement company Star Scientific --  in exchange for gifts, loans and outright cash.

McDonnell claims Williams was a friend and the two had nothing to do with one another.

Democrat State Senator and McDonnell critic Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) agrees that parts of the case may be a reach, but McDonnell is still going to have explain much of what is laid out in the indictment.

"There is no 'quid pro quo' that I can see," said Petersen. "But the bottom line is that there is a lot of circumstantial evidence and it will be a hotly contested case."

Regardless, Petersen believes if this doesn't push the legislature toward serious ethics reform, nothing will.

"Our investigative unit was the governor's chef, he said. "I mean that is pathetic."

The former governor and his wife will appear in federal court for the first time on Friday.

And you can see McDonnell's full statement uncut right now on

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved