Former mansion director delivers testimony

RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- The former director of Virginia's Executive Mansion took the stand Thursday in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen.

Sarah Scarbrough is helping the prosecution's case, reluctantly, as she says she's a close friend of the McDonnells' daughter Cailin.

Sarah Scarbrough has shot down the defense theory that the McDonnells' marriage was on the rocks.

"They seemed like a happy and in-love couple," Scarbrough said, testifying that she often saw the governor be affectionate to his wife. Scarbrough said she told investigators that Bob McDonnell worshiped the ground Maureen walked on. She said she never saw Maureen and Jonnie Williams be affectionate with one another.

PHOTOS: McDonnell trial evidence

Scarbrough is also helping the prosecution establish that the McDonnells performed official acts for Jonnie Williams. Scarbrough said that she thought an event for healthcare leaders, paid for by state dollars at the governor's mansion, was a launch for Anatabloc, Jonnie Williams's product. She said bottles of Anatabloc were placed in front of each plate, and that she'd never seen that happen before.

During cross examination, Scarbrough admitted that she called Maureen McDonnell sneaky and said that the former first lady would use her husband's name to get what she wanted.

Scarbrough also admitted to telling investigators that she though Bob McDonnell was in denial about Maureen McDonnell's mental capacity.

The former governor will have to explain Wednesday, February 29, 2012. That's the day prosecutors say he met privately with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams to discuss ways Williams could transfer $50,000 in shares of Star Scientific to the McDonnells. Williams testified that they both wanted to not have to report the deal.

Hours later, Williams, the governor and his wife attended a governor's mansion reception for healthcare leaders. Dr. Frank Crantz, an endocrinologist from McLean, attended the event because of his interest in studying Anatabloc. He recalled Williams giving an energetic pitch for the product. Other Star executives were also at the meeting and so were other researchers. Also at that event was Virginia Secretary of Health Bill Hazel, who was called to testify Thursday.

Dr. Frank Crantz said he walked away from that dinner with the impression Williams and the first family were very close.

"Williams was treated like a member of the McDonnell family," he told jurors.

Crantz also told the jury that he spent the night at the governor's mansion after dinner that night at the invitation of the McDonnells. He said Williams had promised to fly him back his home in Potomac, Md. that night but later said it was too late. Crantz said he wasn't sure why he had been invited to the dinner.

There's was also more Thursday morning about the governor speaking with and hugging a prosecution witness Wednesday. Thursday, Bob McDonnell's attorney told the judge that he didn't think his client did anything wrong. The judge said, regardless what you think, I told you to not let it happen again.

Contributing: WVEC-TV


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