RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- The federal corruption trial of Virginia's former governor continues Wednesday with testimonies from former assistants and aides who knew about Bob McDonnell's day-to-day activities and interactions with both his wife and with the wealthy businessman at the center of the story.
Mary-Shea Sutherland, Maureen McDonnell's former chief of staff, took the stand Wednesday morning, painting an ugly picture of the former-first lady.
Probably the most damaging testimony by Mary-Shea Sutherland was about Maureen McDonnell's demeanor. She said Maureen yelled and screamed constantly, not just at her but other staff members. She said it got so bad one day that the protection detail came in and asked her if she was okay.
Sutherland talked about another day when Bob McDonnell brought her into his office and said, try to understand my wife, she's trying to adjust to the first lady role and her father recently died. Mary-Shea Sutherland said she pushed back and said look, both of my parents died and I've never treated anyone the way she treats us.
Sutherland talked about the infamous shopping trip where Jonnie Williams, chief executive of Virginia-based Star Scientific who lavished the McDonnells with gifts and loans, dropped $20,000 on Maureen.
Sutherland said that Maureen was having a great time and that she was so happy that she was going to have these dresses bought for her. The dresses were two Oscar de la Renta gowns purchased by Jonnie Williams, including the one she wore to her daughter's wedding. Maureen said this was better than getting the inaugural dress because she could keep these dresses.
Sutherland said Maureen McDonnell asked Jonnie Williams to buy her a yellow dress because she was wearing a yellow dress when her husband fell in love with her. That supports the idea that they were trying to work things out as a couple.
Sutherland did admit that Jonnie Williams bought her a dress, but said she kept trying to refuse it. Jonnie Williams kept insisting, and Sutherland said she finally accepted the $1,600 dress because it was easier than fighting about it. She said the dress is still in its packaging with tags on it and that she presented it to the prosecution Tuesday.
Sutherland said she told another staff member about the $15,000 check Jonnie Williams wrote for the daughter's catering bill because she "didn't want to be the only staffer to know about it."
Testifying about the Governor's Mansion launch party for Jonnie Williams's product Antabloc, Sutherland made the prosecution's point that it was an official event. She said Maureen was angry when her husband was not going to be available and that he adjusted his schedule to be there.
She also denied there was anything romantic between Jonnie Williams and Maureen and said that Bob McDonnell would even write his wife love poems.
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