Domestic assault charges that Erik J. Finkbeiner, a former aide to Gov. Bob McDonnell, and his former girlfriend, Summer Hudson, obtained against each other last month were withdrawn against both parties today after they invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.
Substitute Judge James Mathews of Chesterfield General District Court reluctantly dropped the charges in an arrangement that was worked out in advance by the attorneys for both parties.
Showing his disapproval by throwing down a stack of assault warrants and protective orders onto his bench – seven against Finkbeiner and three against Hudson -- Mathews angrily admonished both defendants. Finkbeiner, a lawyer, is the former chief lobbyist for Gov. Bob McDonnell.
“Both of you have used this court to seek protection,” the judge said. “You say you beat each other up. You don’t want to testify. If you want to get beat up again, this is exactly the way to do it.”
“Frankly, I wish there was something I could do,” the judge added. “I don’t know who’s at fault.”
Chesterfield County prosecutor Kenneth Chitty, acting as an intermediate, had urged the judge to withdraw the charges after he told the court that both parties were exercising their Fifth Amendment rights. They were the only witnesses to the assault allegations.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right against self incrimination in a court proceeding. It states that no one shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
The judge asked Finkbeiner and Hudson if they were still in a relationship, and both replied “no” or nodded negatively. In withdrawing the charges, which could potentially be reinstated in the future, Mathews ordered both defendants to have no further contact with each other.
Both Finkbeiner and Hudson refused to comment after the hearing. By mutual agreement, neither would their attorneys -- Todd Stone for Finkbeiner and George Edwards for Hudson.
Finkbeiner, 44, obtained three misdemeanor assault charges against Hudson, 34, in mid-May, days after Hudson obtained a half-dozen charges against him.
Finkbeiner, a lawyer, was first charged April 2 for allegedly violating a protective order that Hudson obtained against him on March 30. He was subsequently charged May 8 with four counts of misdemeanor assault and two counts of violating a protective order.
According to Hudson, the alleged offenses occurred on May 12, 2012; Oct. 4, 2012; Nov. 4, 2012; and March 31 for the assault charges, and March 24 and March 31 for the protective order violations.
In response, Finkbeiner on May 10 pursued cross complaints and obtained three charges of misdemeanor assault against Hudson for offenses he said occurred Nov. 4, 2012; Dec. 22, 2012; and on March 30.
Both Finbeiner and Hudson obtained the charges through a Chesterfield magistrate; police were not involved.
Stone said last month that Finkbeiner originally had been charged only with violating a protective order. But when Finkbeiner sought to have the order dissolved, Hudson filed the new charges dating back a year, Stone said.
Stone had obtained photos from Finkbeiner that purportedly show bruises and cut marks to his eye from a punch and a bite mark to his arm. It was unclear whether Edwards had photos of injuries to Hudson.
Finkbeiner was the governor’s chief lobbyist, who handled such high-profile tasks as McDonnell’s unsuccessful effort to sell off the state’s liquor monopoly. He left the administration in mid-2011 and rejoined the McGuire Woods law firm.
At McGuire Woods, he acted as local consultant to the Washington Redskins in negotiating a deal with McDonnell and Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones in mid-2012 to establish the team’s summer training camp in Richmond and used state money to renovate its corporate and training facility in Loudoun County.
He left McGuire Woods at the end of 2012 to open his own law practice and consulting business.