Tuesday, January 23, 2018
News Roundup

Corruption case of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell heads to jury

RICHMOND, Va. — After 67 witnesses over five weeks, the corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, will soon be handed to the jury of seven men and five women who will decide the couple's fate.

Attorneys on both sides Friday made their closing arguments in a case that has generated soap-opera buzz since the state's former first couple pinned their defense largely on a self-dissection of their own failed relationship.

The verdict will come down to whether the jury believes Robert McDonnell, a former attorney general and onetime vice presidential prospect, struck a corrupt deal with a flamboyant vitamin salesman who was given immunity to testify and was described by prosecutors as a "criminal."

The McDonnells face a 14-count public corruption indictment alleging that they lent the prestige of the governor's office to that salesman, Jonnie Williams, in exchange for $177,000 in gifts and loans.

In their summary, prosecutors emphasized the litany of actions the former governor took on behalf of Williams and his nutritional supplement, Anatabloc, including allowing a governor's mansion event that helped launch the product and setting up meetings with state officials. McDonnell then lied about many of the dealings, including on official disclosure forms and on a loan application, prosecutors argued.

But McDonnell's attorney told jurors that Williams, the government's star witness, is a liar. Williams' testimony was a fable he created to avoid prosecution in an unrelated stock inquiry, defense attorney Henry "Hank" Asbill said in his summary.

Maureen McDonnell's lead counsel, William Burck, beseeched the jury to consider how a gift-giving, fast-talking businessman had exploited a shattered marriage and inserted himself in the life of a fragile first lady. He said his client was "gaga for Jonnie" and an unintended victim in prosecutors' unyielding pursuit of her husband.

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Man, 60, arrested in fatal shooting of his neighbor in Holiday

HOLIDAY — A 60-year-old man was arrested by Pasco County Sheriff’s deputies Tuesday, after deputies say he fatally shot a neighbor who was standing in his own front yard.Deputies said Qiu Feng Kek shot his neighbor, a man in his 30s, at 3519 Richboro...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Targeted by false filings, Pinellas judge takes witness stand

Targeted by false filings, Pinellas judge takes witness stand

LARGO — In his eight years as a circuit judge, Thomas Minkoff has handled family and civil cases, as well as 14,000 foreclosure hearings.He was in court once again on Tuesday, but not in his usual perch at the bench. This time, he was on the witness ...
Updated: 27 minutes ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
Map: Where to park for Gasparilla and the NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa

Map: Where to park for Gasparilla and the NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa

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Updated: 1 hour ago
Troopers: U.S. 19 at Countryside Blvd. now open except for inside lane

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Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco joins opioid litigation

Pasco joins opioid litigation

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Updated: 2 hours ago

Five Hernando County educators nominated for LifeChanger of the Year Awards

Hernando County Public Schools has five educators in the running for prizes ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 in the 2017-2018 national LifeChanger of the Year awards. The program will give out 17 awards.Travis Bruns and Doug Poteet of Pine Grove Elemen...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Brooksville church starts ministry to feed the hungry

Brooksville church starts ministry to feed the hungry

BROOKSVILLE — It was the first sermon of 2017 at Grace World Outreach Church when Sue Bailey heard her pastor, David Garcia, talk about visions."He preached about a huge vision and said we should ‘stay the course’ and not let Satan distract us," Bail...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Chase to make $20B investment, raise wages

Chase to make $20B investment, raise wages

JPMorgan Chase announced Tuesday that it will boost wages, open new branches and hire thousands of new workers, citing improved economic performance and sweeping changes to the U.S. tax code. Wages will rise to between $15 and $18 an hour from a rang...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Column: The left is so used to being sold out that it can’t tell when it’s winning

Column: The left is so used to being sold out that it can’t tell when it’s winning

Democrats are feckless. When it counts, they always fold. After all, they’re more beholden to donors and lobbyists than they are to their base.This narrative is so old, so straightforward, and so pleasingly infuriating that it just rolls off the tong...
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