Prosecution rests in McDonnell corruption trial

RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- The prosecution rested its case Thursday in the federal corruption trial of of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen. After three weeks and dozens of witnesses, the government ended with its strongest one, along with some showmanship.

The couple is accused of accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from then-Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his dietary supplement, Anatabloc.

FBI Special Agent David Hulser was on the stand all day Thursday, serving as a summary witness and providing a linear timeline of events surrounding Williams, the McDonnells and the investigation.

The prosecution used Agent Hulser's testimony to show that communication between Jonnie Williams and the McDonnells would escalate when the couple received gifts or loans and when they would give Williams special treatment. Hulser testified that Williams and the couple did not communicate regularly. The prosecution tried to show that the couple was not friends with Williams and that they would only communicate when an exchange was occurring.

Hulser prepared detailed charts showing text, email, and phone conversations between Williams and the couple over the years when the alleged crime occurred. The prosecution walked the jury through communication around the time Bob McDonnell received his Rolex, when he drove the Ferrari, when the couple purchased and transferred Star Scientific stocks, when Williams wrote a check to MoBo Realty, when the McDonnells vacationed on Williams's dime and more.

Agent Hulser's direct examination ended with the prosecution showing physical gifts that the McDonnells' attorneys returned to Jonnie Williams's attorneys after the investigation hit the media. Williams attorneys then gave the gifts to the FBI. The prosecution went item by item, showing dresses, golf shoes, purses, wallets, the Rolex watch and other gifts to the jury, all to illustrate just how much the McDonnells received from Jonnie Williams. The physical evidence provided a dramatic end to weeks of testimony.

During cross examination, the defense tried to poke holes in the charts that Agent Hulser had detailed during direct examination. The defense tried to show that Hulser doesn't know the content of any phone calls between the McDonnells and Jonnie Williams, nor does he know if the calls went to voice mail or were actually answered.

The defense also tried to provide an explanation for the McDonnells' credit card debt that Hulser revealed Wednesday. Hulser provided a chart of the couple's debt beginning when Bob McDonnell became governor in January 2010. The defense argued that in the months leading up to January 2010, Bob McDonnell had given up his position as attorney general in order to run for governor and was no longer receiving a state salary.

Defense attorney Henry Asbill asked Hulser if he knew of any calls that the former governor made to UVa, VCU or the Tobacco Commision, and Hulser said he did not. Prosecutors allege that the McDonnells were taking official acts to help Williams get funding from the Tobacco Commission via research grants to UVa and VCU researchers.

During cross examination, defense attorney Henry Asbill asked FBI agent Hulser "Have you ever seen a cooperating witness get the kind of deal that Mr. Williams got?" Prosecutors objected and Hulser didn't answer the question.

Defense attorneys for Maureen McDonnell tried to show that the charts made by FBI Special Agent Hulser exclude phone, text and email conversations that are relevant on certain days during the charted time period.

When the prosecution said they had a long redirect, the judge said "You're breaking my heart." After the prosecution finished redirect and rested, Judge Spencer told the jury they had off Friday and said "I wish I could go with you."

Motions are scheduled to begin Friday at 10 a.m.


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