Closing arguments end in McDonnell corruption trial

RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- The prosecution and both defense teams finished their closing arguments in the public corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen Friday evening.

Judge James Spencer will give jury instructions Tuesday morning after the holiday weekend.

The McDonnells are accused of accepting more than $177,000 in gifts and loans from wealthy businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company's dietary supplement, Anatabloc.

Each attorney spent more than two hours delivering their respective closing arguments, debating over whether or not there was a "quid pro quo" and corrupt relationship between the McDonnells and Williams.

"It's not a campaign. It's a search for the truth. That's what the system is all about," McDonnell said walking into court Friday when asked whether this was the most important campaign of his life.

"I feel good. I've just kept my eyes on the Lord and my thoughts on the facts, and that's all I can do one day at a time," he said.

When a reporter noted that his whole family was at court, including his son, McDonnell stated, "He just got back from Vanderbilt. The whole family is here. My greatest strength and enjoyment is my five children and they're all here."

"Were you able to sleep any better last night?" a reporter asked.

"Sure. I slept tight," replied McDonnell.

1. Federal prosecutor David Harbach

"They spent a lot of time talking about his 38 years of public service, wrapped in the Commonwealth flag, making you forget he stomped on it by selling out his office," federal prosecutor David Harbach said in his closing arguments.

Harbach told a story of bribery, lies and cover ups, walking the jury through the timeline of the alleged corruption. This is fundamentally a simple case with one question, Harbach began. Why?

"Why did he (Williams) give them, why did they (McDonnells) take them?" Harbach asked, referring to gifts and loans in exchange for official acts, the alleged quid pro quo.

The story, as told by Harbach, begins with an April 2011 shopping spree in New York for Maureen McDonnell and ends with the former First Lady trying to allegedly obstruct justice after an interview with state police.

Bob McDonnell knew exactly what Jonnie Williams wanted and he used his official capacity as governor to deliver, Harbach said.

"He was on the Jonnie Williams gravy train," Harbach said.

Bob McDonnell hid gifts and loans from Jonnie Williams from his staff because "he knew his deal with Jonnie was dirty," Harbach said.

The defense is trying to divert the blame and distract the jury from a "mountain of evidence," Harbach told the jury.

Harbach walked the jury through the 14 counts in the indictment. Bob and Maureen McDonnell are both charged on counts one hrough 11 for public corruption. The former governor is charged on count 12 for making false statements to a bank. The couple is charged on count 13 for making false statements to a bank. Maureen McDonnell is charged on count 14 for obstruction.

"Don't let him sit there and stand on the coat tails of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. This is bribery. This is corruption. Don't let that stand," Harbach finished his closing argument.

2. Maureen McDonnell defense attorney Bill Burck

Maureen McDonnell's attorney Bill Burck went first for the defense, calling the former first lady an "afterthought" in the government's case.

The government's whole case relies on Jonnie Williams, and he's a liar, Bill Burck said in his closing arguments.

"A case built on the word of Jonnie Williams is the very definition of reasonable doubt," Burck told the jury.

Maureen McDonnell doesn't deny that she accepted gifts and loans from Jonnie Williams and she doesn't deny that she helped promote his product, Burk said.

"What really matters is what was in Maureen's head," Burck told the jury, and in her head, there was no intent to corrupt the office of the governor.

Burck's closing arguments emphasized two things: Maureen McDonnell had a lifelong passion for nutraceuticals that lead to her genuine interest in Anatabloc, and Maureen McDonnell had a crush on Jonnie Williams.

"We have never said there was anything physical or sexual about their relationship," Burck said about Maureen McDonnell and Williams. But the two did have an emotional connection, a friendship, and she lit up when he was around, Burck told the jury.

"Jonnie was the predator, not the prey," Burck said, arguing that Williams took advantage of a gullible and trusting Maureen McDonnell, just as he had done with her chief of staff.

The government claims that Maureen McDonnell went to great lengths to conceal a corrupt scheme, but the only person that Maureen hid anything from was her husband, Burck said. Not her chief of staff, not her stock broker, only Bob McDonnell.

3. Bob McDonnell defense attorney Hank Asbill

"This case is all quid, no pro, no quo," defense attorney Hank Asbill told the jury.

There are three reasons why Bob McDonnell is not guilty of the charges in this case: Jonnie Williams didn't get anything, being married does not prove conspiracy, and Bob McDonnell didn't hide anything because he didn't have to, Asbill argued.

"He is sorry for the mistakes he made as governor. He is sorry for the mistakes he made as a husband. He is sorry for the mistakes he made as a father," Asbill said about McDonnell.

But this is about law, not morality, and there isn't any evidence of bribery or a corrupt agreement, Asbill told the jury.

"The humiliation has been severe and it has been nationwide," Asbill said, referring to the couple's broken marriage and financed made public in the trial. The McDonnells were forced to air their most private matters in order to defend themselves, Asbill said.

Like Bill Burck, Asbill focused on the immunity deal from alleged securities fraud that Jonnie Wiliams received from the prosecution. Williams pitched a story about corruption better than any story he ever sold about Anatabloc, and the government paid a tremendous price for his testimony because without it, there's no case, Asbill said.

"If you have reasonable doubt about testimony of an immune witness, then you must acquit," Asbill said.

Asbill told the jury to consider McDonnell's history of public service and strong testimony from character witnesses who know him best.

"They know he would never sell his office. They know he would never cheat his banks," Asbill said about McDonnell's staff, who stayed with him despite the investigation.

Asbill ended his argument talking about assumption of innocence and burden of proof.

"It's their (the prosecution's) job to give you the case on a silver platter, no assembly required," Asbill told the jury.

"I thank you for everything you have done, and I thank you for everything you still have to do," he concluded.

4. Federal prosecutor Michael Dry rebuttal

"You don't have to like Mr. Williams. You shouldn't like Mr. Williams. He bribed the governor of Virginia," Dry said about his star witness, calling him a criminal for the first time in this trial.

Evidence and common sense prove the McDonnells are guilty of all charges, Dry told the jury in his rebuttal.

"He can't pocket personal money for doing his job," prosecutor Michael Dry argued.

Why? The answer is simple, Dry said. "He didn't think he was going to get caught."

This is a serious case and the timing is devastating, Dry said. The reason Asbill didn't go in chronological order is because that would clearly establish a quid pro quo, Dry continued. You could take away testimony from Williams and still go beyond a reasonable doubt, according to Dry.

Bob McDonnell is blaming everyone else, Dry said. His bumper sticker should have been 'Bob's for Bob" rather than "Bob's for jobs."

"Mr. McDonnell is willing to throw his wife under the bus and she's willing to let him in order to avoid criminal conviction," Dry argued.

Regarding the alleged broken marriage, "It's salacious and sad but at the end of the day it doesn't matter." Dry said.

Dry told the jury to ignore the "after the fact legal justifications from a guy with a law degree," to factor in the evidence and the law rather than emotion and sympathy, and to find the defendants guilty on each and every count.


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