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Former Virginia governor denies bribery

RICHMOND, Va. — Five days of grueling, often contentious testimony by Bob McDonnell, the former Virginia governor accused of corruption, ended Tuesday with an apology from McDonnell for accepting so many gifts and so much money but an emphatic denial that he had conspired with his wife to sell his office.

The federal trial, already 22 days long, could go to the jury as early as today. Lawyers for the former Virginia first lady, Maureen McDonnell, must present her defense, but her lead attorney promised that might take only three hours.

After Bob McDonnell's testimony in his defense, the jurors were left with a puzzle. The gifts are not in doubt, $177,000 in cash, loans, vacations, Ferrari rides, equipment and more, so much that McDonnell had to concede that he regretted his actions.

What the donor, Jonnie Williams, the chief executive of nutritional supplement maker Star Scientific, wanted in return is also little in doubt. Williams made clear that he hoped the governor would help start clinical trials of his anti-inflammatory product Anatabloc at a Virginia university.

But what Williams actually received may decide whether McDonnell goes to prison.

Prosecutor Michael Dry, who questioned McDonnell for 10 hours over two days, concluded his interrogation by quoting the same Scripture the defendant had uttered at his inauguration as governor in 2010: " 'To whom much is given, much will be required,' " Dry said. "Mr. Williams gave you $177,000 in loans and gifts."

He then turned to District Court Judge James Spencer and said, "No further questions."



Former Virginia governor denies bribery 08/26/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 11:59pm]
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