RICHMOND, Va. (WJZ) — It’s the biggest political scandal Virginia has ever seen play out in a courtroom. The bombshell revelations against former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife keep coming.
Derek Valcourt has more on the corruption trial in our neighbor state that has captured national attention.
The drama that’s playing out in court reads like a soap opera. Money, power, a broken marriage and hints of an affair. And that’s just week-one of the trial
Governor Bob McDonnell appeared unfazed as prosecutors presented evidence they say shows he and his wife, Maureen, illegally accepted more than $150,000 worth of lavish gifts and loans from wealthy businessman Jonnie Williams.
Under immunity, Williams testified the gifts were in exchange for the governor’s help promoting his health supplement products, even arranging meetings with doctors who could benefit his business.
“Jonnie Williams said point blank, ‘That’s what I wanted.’ He said, ‘I wanted the governor’s credibility, I wanted the credibility of the governor’s office to help me sell my product,'” said legal analyst Todd Stone.
The gifts included a $6,000 Rolex watch for the governor, golf outings, shopping sprees, an Oscar de la Renta dress for the first lady and use of Williams’ Ferrari.
Williams’ assistant even testified she coordinated vacations for the McDonnells to Smith Mountain Lake, to Cape Cod and an inquiry from the youngest McDonnell daughter to fly her to Florida, even helping to arrange a private jet to fly three of the McDonnell children to the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs.
“I think the prosecution is trying to show this was much more than what they’ve listed in the indictment and that it was a family affair,” said Stone.
Maureen McDonnell’s attorneys say her marriage had broken down, so there was no conspiracy, that Williams had become her favorite playmate, that he filled the void with an inappropriate relationship that included meetings in the upstairs of the Governor’s Mansion.
The governor’s lawyers argue any deal his wife made with Williams was without the governor’s knowledge and that anything Williams got is what a governor is supposed to give.
The charges facing the McDonnells carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
The trial could last another four weeks.
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