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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has apologized after his 1984 student yearbook page emerged, showing a picture featuring men in racist costumes.

The Democrat governor said in a statement: “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.”

Black politicians in Virginia called the image “disgusting” and Republicans urged Ralph Northam to resign.

The picture showed a man in blackface and another man in Ku Klux Klan robes.

The image appeared on a page with other photos of Ralph Northam, who was aged about 25 at the time, as well as personal details about him.

Ralph Northam did not elaborate on which costume he was wearing, but said he appeared in a photograph that was “clearly racist and offensive”.

His yearbook page, which came from the pediatric neurologist’s time at Eastern Virginia Medical School, was first published by conservative website Big League Politics.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper tweeted a picture of the page which it said it obtained from the medical school library.

An official from the medical school verified the photo and told the Huffington Post it came from a “student-produced publication”.

The yearbook page, which features Ralph Northam’s full name and photos of the future doctor and politician, also included a quote from a Willie Nelson song that read: “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.”

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In his statement, issued after the image was made public, the governor said: “This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service.”

He added: “But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.

“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work.

“The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their governor.”

Ralph Northam later released a video statement via Twitter in which he said he was “deeply sorry” for the offence the image had caused.

He said: “I accept responsibility for my past actions and I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust.”

Before he was elected governor, Ralph Northam served for a decade as a Virginia state legislator.

Ralph Northam’s responsibilities as governor include implementing state laws, restoring voting rights for individuals who have had them withdrawn and issuing pardons.

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Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has said that his only message for the white supremacists who brought chaos to the city of Charlottesville is “Go home”.

On August 12, a woman has been killed and 19 people were injured when a car rammed a crowd of people opposing a far-right rally there.

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the incident.

Earlier, street brawls erupted between white nationalists and counter-protesters.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said “the violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice.

He said: “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.”

The alleged driver of the car – James Alex Fields, 20, from Ohio – is in detention on suspicion of second-degree murder.

In addition to those injured in the car incident, the Charlottesville Police Department said 15 were wounded in other violence related to the far-right march.

Late in the afternoon, a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed in woodland south-west of the city, killing two police officers. The helicopter had been part of the operation to monitor the clashes.

The “Unite the Right” march was called to protest against plans to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee, who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.

Image source Getty Images

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Governor McAuliffe told a press conference: “I have a message for all the white supremacists, and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you. You pretend that you’re patriots, but you are anything but a patriot.

“You came here today to hurt people. And you did hurt people. But my message is clear: We are stronger than you.”

The Democrat governor said he had spoken to President Donald Trump, and twice urged him to begin a movement to bring people together.

Terry McAuliffe thanked the police and law enforcement officials, who he said had prevented “a much worse day”, and praised the emergency services who helped the wounded.

The violence in Charlottesville – a liberal college town – is a stark demonstration of the growing political divide in the United States, which has intensified since President Trump’s election last year.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler had called for a “pro-white” rally, and white nationalists promoted the gathering widely.

Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said several “white power” groups were present – including neo-Nazis and factions of the Ku Klux Klan.

The New York Times reports that some were chanting “You will not replace us,” and “Jew will not replace us.”

Anti-racism organizations such as Black Lives Matter held protests at the scene.

On August 11, the white nationalists held lit torches and chanted “White lives matter” as they marched through the University of Virginia in the city.

President Trump condemned “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides”.

Speaking in New Jersey, where he is on a working holiday, President Trump told reporters: “The hate and the division must stop right now.

“We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation.”

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Maureen McDonnell has been sentenced to one year and one day in jail for her part in a corruption case, a court has ruled on February 20.

Virginia’s former First Lady was convicted, alongside her husband Bob McDonnell, for taking more than $165,000 in exchange for promoting a vitamin firm.

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was sentenced in January to two years in prison.

Bob and Maureen McDonnell remain free pending an appeal against their convictions.

In court, Maureen McDonnell apologized to her family and Virginians, saying said she takes full responsibility for her mistakes.

Photo AP

Photo AP

“I would ask in your sentence today that you consider the punishment I’ve already received,” she said.

“My marriage is broken, my family is hurting and my reputation is in shatters.”

The six-week trial exposed the McDonnell family’s strained marriage and shaky finances.

Jurors heard the former governor was in financial need and traded on his position to win gifts of travel and cash from Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie Williams, in exchange for promoting his company’s nutritional supplements.

Jonnie Williams testified, under immunity, that Maureen McDonnell asked him for money and to pay for high-end shopping trips, offering to connect him to the governor in return.

Defense lawyers argued the McDonnells could not have conspired to extract bribes from Jonnie Williams because they were barely communicating.

Prosecutors had requested an 18-month prison term, while the defense requested 4,000 hours of community service and probation.

On February 20, Judge James Spencer called the case “puzzling and bizarre”.

He said there appeared to be two versions of Maureen McDonnell – a loving mother and devoted wife but also the first lady “who belittled and terrorized employees” at the Virginia executive mansion.

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Maureen McDonnell, the wife of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, could become the first modern-day governor’s spouse sent to prison for felonies she was convicted of committing while she held the mostly ceremonial position.

Maureen McDonnell will be sentenced on February 20 in US District Court on eight public corruption counts.

Federal prosecutors have recommended an 18-month prison term – six months less than Bob McDonnell got when he was convicted on 11 counts last month. Maureen McDonnell’s attorneys are asking for probation and 4,000 hours of community service.

Photo AP

Photo AP

More than a century ago, a former West Virginia first lady was acquitted more on charges of forging her first husband’s signature. None, however, has confronted the prospect of a prison term for a felony conviction.

More recently, former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, faced questions over whether she was personally enriched by the relationship. Neither has been charged.

Bob and Maureen McDonnell were convicted in September 2014 of doing favors for the CEO of a nutritional supplements company in exchange for $165,000 in gifts and loans.

Maureen McDonnell’s lawyers said in court papers that she was never comfortable in the role of first lady, and she cracked under the pressure and the fear of letting her husband down.

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Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, have been found guilty of corruption.

Bob McDonnell, who left office in January 2014, was once a rising star of the Republican Party.

A federal jury concluded that he and his wife – who say they are now estranged – used his office to endorse the dietary supplements of a businessman in return for lavish gifts and loans.

They will be sentenced on January 6.

Bob McDonnell, 60, was convicted on 11 charges, including wire fraud and receiving property based on his official duties.

Maureen McDonnell, 60, was found guilty on nine of the charges.

They were both found not guilty of falsifying financial statements.

Both bowed their heads and wept as the jury delivered their verdicts of guilty.

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, have been found guilty of corruption

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, have been found guilty of corruption (photo AP)

Although the McDonnells can appeal, they could face years in prison.

“This is a difficult and disappointing day for the commonwealth and its citizens,” said the US Attorney for Virginia’s Eastern District, Dana Boente, outside the courthouse in the state capital Richmond.

“Public service frequently requires sacrifice and almost always requires financial sacrifice.”

Bob McDonnell was once considered a possible running mate for presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.

But earlier this year he and his wife were charged with doing favors for a wealthy vitamin executive, Jonnie Williams, in return for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans.

Prosecutors say Bob McDonnell was in financial need and traded on his position to win gifts of travel and cash from Jonnie Williams, for whom he arranged meetings with state officials.

His defense team argued Bob McDonnell’s marriage was frayed and he was hardly on speaking terms with his wife who had a “crush” on Jonnie Williams and had accepted gifts from him.

Bob McDonnell had apologized for his own “bad judgment” and said he regretted accepting the gifts and loans, but stressed he paid it all back with interest and broke no laws.

The governor left office in disgrace in January at the end of his term.

Virginia governors are barred from running for a second consecutive term, and Bob McDonnell was succeeded by Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

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Jonnie R. Williams, the key witness in a corruption trial of ex-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, has testified the former first lady sought gifts and loans in return for help with his business.

Prosecutors say Jonnie Williams gave Bob and Maureen McDonnell gifts and loans totaling $165,000 (£97,000).

Bob McDonnell denies wrongdoing. His wife says their marriage was frayed and she had a “crush” on Jonnie Williams.

On Thursday, Jonnie Williams said buying gifts for the couple was poor judgment.

Jonnie Williams, the head of a vitamin supplements company called Star Scientific, said buying a $6,000 Rolex watch on the request of Maureen McDonnell was “a bad decision on my part”.

“I shouldn’t have had to buy things like that to get the help I needed,” Jonnie Williams told jurors as they inspected the watch in question.

He also denied being friends with the McDonnells.

Prosecutors say Jonnie Williams gave Bob and Maureen McDonnell gifts and loans totaling $165,000

Prosecutors say Jonnie Williams gave Bob and Maureen McDonnell gifts and loans totaling $165,000

Prosecutors say Bob McDonnell was in financial need and traded on his position to win gifts of travel and cash from Jonnie Williams, for whom he arranged meetings with state officials.

However, Bob McDonnell argues he was only doing for Jonnie Williams what he would for any Virginia businessman.

On Wednesday, Jonnie Williams testified Maureen McDonnell asked him for money and to pay for high-end shopping trips, offering to connect him to the governor in return.

Jonnie Williams, to whom prosecutors have granted immunity, said he insisted on speaking to the governor before giving her any cash, and testified that the governor subsequently thanked him for his generosity.

As his testimony resumed on Thursday, the chief executive said he refused some of Maureen McDonnell’s requests because he believed they would be too visible – including vehicles for two of Bob McDonnell’s children and purchasing the couple’s money-losing rental properties.

Jonnie Williams also said he decided against a secret stock transfer to Bob McDonnell because he could not have hid the transaction from US regulators.

Bob McDonnell, once a rising star in the Republican Party with aspirations for national office, left office in disgrace in January at the end of his term. Virginia governors are barred from running for a second consecutive term, and he was succeeded by Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

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