Psychologist recommended counseling for Maureen McDonnell

RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- Problems that the Executive Mansion staff had with former first lady were the topic of testimony again Wednesday in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen.

Jim Burke, who was hired to assist the first lady in putting together a team, testified about his role in forming and building the mansion staff. Burke was hired in October 2011 and decided to stop his assistance in February 2012, after and angry phone call with the mansion staff over the letter they wrote to Mrs. McDonnell.

Burke testified about a February 1, 2012 meeting with the governor that he had to discuss issues between the first lady and her staff. Burke said that in that meeting, he recommended that Maureen seek counseling for anxiety and possibly depression. He also recommended that she leave the mansion to reduce her stress. Burke said Bob McDonnell took responsibility for Maureen's stress and said he was going to try to spend more time with his wife. Burke said Bob listened to his suggestions but did not seek counseling for Maureen.

Burke also testified that he would email back and forth with Maureen about speeches that she had to give, knowing that public speaking was one of her stresses. In an email, Maureen wrote to Jim saying "I really wouldn't be doing this for anyone else but that man of mine :)." The prosecution showed this email during cross examination to suggest that Maureen and Bob were in love. Prosecutor Michael Dry also asked Burke if Maureen mentioned having a crush on Jonnie Williams, to which he answered no. However, Burke said he had a work relationship with Maureen and wouldn't expect her to share information of that nature.

A witness for the defense went head to head with the prosecution Wednesday morning over Bob McDonnell's financial soundness.

Financial expert John Kosowsky testified Tuesday that Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen were financially sound, which he said he determined by analyzing the couple's credit cards, bank statements and tax returns.

The prosecution did a good job poking holes in charts that Kosowsky prepared to illustrate the couple's finances. During cross examination, government attorney Ryan Faulconer tried to show that while the couple had cash available, the amount would not be enough to pay for luxury clothes, golf outings, vacations and $15,000 for wedding catering.

Kosowsky's charts showed assets available to the McDonnells in the thousands of dollars, but Faulconer argued that tapping into a retirement account would result in penalties and taxes for the couple. Faulconer showed that interest on a Jonnie Williams loan was significantly less than the APR for the McDonnells' various credit cards.

Kosowsky and Faulconer argued over the definition of liquid assets. Kosowsky testified that the McDonnells' available credit was a liquid resource, but Faulconer said that using that credit would just create a greater debt.

Faulconer argued that the couple's cash availability was only high after receiving loans from Jonnie Williams.

The defense also called Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore to the stand Wednesday. Haymore testified that he sat on the Tobbacco Commission and that Bob McDonnell never asked him to do anything for Jonnie Williams, Star Scientific or Anatabloc. Haymore described an agriculture and forestry development fund, and said the governor never asked that money from that fund be granted to Williams.

CPA Dan Cook, the McDonnells' accountant, testified about the couple's tax returns. The defense tried to show that Bob McDonnell gave Cook information about Star stocks and Jonnie Williams loans and that he wasn't trying to hid anything.


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