RICHMOND, Va. (WJZ) — Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell was on the stand again in his corruption trial. He and his wife are accused of taking extravagant gifts from a Virginia businessman.
Pat Warren has more on McDonnell’s testimony.
No communication, no conspiracy. That’s the argument the defense is making, trying to shift the blame off the former governor and onto the former first lady.
Bob McDonnell Thursday told the court “I was heartbroken that maybe this was the end of my marriage,” when in 2011, he failed to get his wife Maureen to spend Labor Day weekend with him.
The former Virginia governor and first lady are charged with public corruption, allegedly accepting gifts and loans from a businessman in exchange for promoting his company’s diet supplements.
McDonnell’s defense is trying to prove his marriage was too troubled for the couple to conspire to anything.
“They have essentially thrown Maureen McDonnell, the governor’s spouse, under the bus and then rolled it back and forth on her a couple of times. They’ve portrayed her as troubled, secretive, irrational. They had defense witnesses that have called her mentally ill,” said Robert Holsworth, legal analyst.
McDonnell Thursday testified to sending his wife an email in 2011, stating: “I am completely at a loss as to how to handle the fiery anger and hate from you that has become more and more frequent.”
The prosecution claims the McDonnells accepted $165,000 in loans and gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams. Those gifts included designer clothes for her, a Rolex for him and expensive vacations for them both. He says it was his wife’s doing, but McDonnell may have to tread carefully.
“He certainly cannot be part of the group that’s throwing his wife under the bus. He has to talk about how he’s loved her. He has to talk about the nearly 40 years of marriage,” said Holsworth.
But McDonnell also has testified that Maureen McDonnell had issues with her staff and yelled at him when he tried to intervene to the point that he’d stay late at the office to avoid going home.
McDonnell also testified that the first lady was not happy about being in public office.
McDonnell told jurors businessman Jonnie Williams received nothing in exchange for the gifts.
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