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Va. AG's office plans to exit chef probe

Wednesday - 4/24/2013, 6:10pm  ET

AP Political Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The lawyer for a former Virginia's governor's mansion chef facing trial for embezzlement is objecting to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's bid to withdraw from prosecuting the case based on an unspecified conflict of interest.

Todd Schneider faces four counts of taking state property worth $200 or more. He headed the Executive Mansion kitchen operations from 2010 until last year.

Cuccinelli asked the Richmond Circuit Court Wednesday to recuse his office in the widening investigation and appoint Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert as a special prosecutor.

But Schneider's lawyer, Steve Benjamin, filed an objection calling the move an effort to delay or deny his client evidence about whether Gov. Bob McDonnell's family took items from the mansion kitchen.

Cuccinelli's office contends Benjamin is trying to politicize the case.

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