Closing arguments set for Friday, McDonnell forgives Williams

RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA) -- Testimony has been completed in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, and closing arguments will begin Friday.

Bob and Maureen McDonnell are on trial for public corruption, accused of accepting more than $177,000 in gifts and loans from wealthy businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his dietary supplement.

After testimony concluded, Bob McDonnell, surrounded by four of his five children, talked about his own human frailty and for the first time, he answered a question from the media about Jonnie Williams. McDonnell trusted Williams, but misjudged him, he said during his testimony.

Thursday, when asked by WUSA9's Peggy Fox if he is now less trusting of people, McDonnell looked down for a moment and then replied, "No. All human begins are fallible. That's what the good book says. And I'm one of them."

Fox asked, "Do you forgive Jonnie Williams?"

McDonnell nodded and said, "Sure."

The McDonnells spent Thursday afternoon celebrating daughter Cailin's 30th birthday. Back in court, their attorneys argued over jury instructions.

The government does not have to show that a specific act occurred on Bob McDonnell's part in exchange for a gift or loan from Jonnie Williams, prosecutors argued before Judge James Spencer. But the defense says that the alleged quid pro quo should not be just a course of conduct but a specific official act.

The finalized jury instructions will not be available until read to the jury after closing argument.

Earlier Thursday, prosecutor Jessica Aber called one final rebuttal witness to testify about the McDonnells' schedules before the government rested.

Of the 721 nights under investigation in the trial, Bob and Maureen McDonnell spent roughly 90% of those together, according FBI Special Agent Kathryn Weber.

The defense has alleged that the McDonnells barely communicated, and therefore could not conspire. The government tried to disprove that argument with Weber's testimony, showing that the couple was frequently together.

The McDonnells spent 644 nights together in a 22-month period between April 11, 2011 and March 31, 2013, Weber testified. Of those 644 nights, 489 nights were spent together in the governor's mansion, according to testimony.

Bob McDonnell spent 220 nights away from the mansion, and 155 of those were with Maureen McDonnell, Weber testified. Weber used the McDonnells' schedules to produce the numbers in her testimony.

During cross examination, defense attorney John Brownlee pointed out that Maureen McDonnell's schedule is blank for a number of nights in the time period at question and therefore Weber can't know if the first lady was actually in the mansion.

Many of the nights when Bob and Maureen McDonnell are noted to be together in the mansion, Bob McDonnell arrived home between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m., as shown during cross examination. What is noted as a night spent together in the mansion actually means overnight, Weber testified in response.

On November 5, 2011, the McDonnells were together at night in the mansion, according to Weber's testimony. That day, Bob McDonnell wrote an email to his wife about their broken marriage, Brownlee noted during cross.

The defense also pointed out that Jonnie Williams signed into the mansion to visit Maureen McDonnell on some of those nights before Bob McDonnell came home.

READ PREVIOUS STORY: Defense rests in McDonnell trial --


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment