Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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.

Corruption case of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell heads to jury 08/29/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 29, 2014 9:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  2. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend

    Weather

    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  3. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 11:01: No Dickerson today as the Rays go with seven right-handers.

    Here is the lineup:

  4. Global computer outage grounds British flights

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)
  5. Road rage incident leaves uninvolved man, 52, with critical injuries in Pinellas Park

    Accidents

    PINELLAS PARK — A 52-year-old man was critically injured after an apparent road rage incident that shut down the area of a U.S. 19 overpass for nearly six hours on Friday, police said.

    Pinellas Park police say a man has critical injuries after a truck involved in a road rage incident slammed into him after he cut off another vehicle. (Pinellas Park Police Department)