RICHMOND, Va. — The federal jury deciding the fate of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, ended the first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict Tuesday.
The jury, made up of seven men and five women, received the case Tuesday afternoon after getting nearly two hours of instructions from U.S. District Judge James Spencer.
Jurors deliberated for more than five hours before calling it a day. They will return Wednesday morning.
Bob and Maureen McDonnell are charged in a 14-count federal indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in luxury travel, designer clothes and loans with favorable rates from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company's products. Williams was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony in the case.
College of William and Mary law professor Jeff Bellin said the case will come down to whether jurors believe McDonnell and Williams had some kind of agreement to exchange money for official acts.
"The key to the case was what they thought was in Bob McDonnell's mind when he was getting this money from Jonnie Williams," he said.
Outside the courthouse Tuesday, Bob McDonnell told reporters that he was not nervous.
"You know, I have fought some times in my life before and I've just always depended on divine providence and God has taken me through many, many tough times in my life. I think this is just one of those," said McDonnell.
The jury is deliberating to decide on 26 separate verdicts — 13 for Bob McDonnell and 13 for his wife.
The jury heard from dozens of witnesses and reviewed a mountain of exhibits over the last five weeks.
The couple is charged together on counts one through 11, the public corruption charges. Bob McDonnell is charged alone on count 12 for bank fraud; while Maureen McDonnell is charged alone on count 14 for obstruction. The couple is charged together on count 13 for bank fraud.
The McDonnells must have knowingly and deliberately entered a corrupt agreement in order to be found guilty of the conspiracy alleged in counts one through 11, Spencer said during jury instructions Tuesday morning.
The judge walked the jury through the charges, including "honest services fraud" and conspiracy to commit such an offense.
"A conspiracy is, in a very true sense, a partnership in crime," said Spencer.
To be found guilty, he said, a defendant must understand the nature of the conspiracy and deliberately join it.
However, he said a conspiracy does not have to achieve its goals — an instruction that could undercut a defense claim that Williams never received anything of substance, including the research he took preliminary steps to seek.
In a what appears to be a win for the prosecution, Spencer defined an official act as an act that may have been customarily performed, not necessarily something that was specific or written down. Essentially, setting up a meeting or hosting a lunch can be considered an official act, according to the jury instructions.
The credibility of a witness may be discredited if the general reputation of truthfulness is bad, Spencer instructed the jury. Additionally, the testimony of an immunized witness must be examined and weighed by the jury with greater care than other testimonies, the judge said. The instruction was in reference to Williams, who received immunity from securities fraud for his testimony.
According to jury instructions, good character alone is enough to give rise to reasonable doubt. Also, a statement made by the defendants in good faith doesn't amount to a crime, Spencer said. If the McDonnells didn't intend to defraud to deceive a bank, they can't be found guilty on the related charges.
A bribe or corrupt agreement doesn't have to be formally expressed to prove a conspiracy, and the alleged quid pro quo can be established by circumstances alone, Spencer said. The prosecution, which has the burden of prove, doesn't have to show that the conspiracy resulted in anything, but just that one existed, he said.
McDonnell's defense team has argued that the governor never did anything for Williams or his company that he didn't do for other Virginia businesses.
The prosecution and the defense presented closing arguments Friday.
McDonnell's attorney, Henry Asbill, said in closing arguments Friday that the unusually generous immunity deal was Williams' "greatest con." Prosecutor Michael Dry countered that because of the agreement, Williams had no reason to lie on the witness stand.
Williams testified that he spent freely on the McDonnells only to secure help promoting the anti-inflammatory Anatabloc.
The defense argued that the McDonnells' marriage was in such shambles that the couple could not have conspired because they were barely speaking. Maureen McDonnell's attorney said the former Virginia first lady developed a "crush" on Williams, who capitalized on her vulnerability and further poisoned her marriage.
If convicted on all 14 counts, the McDonnells could spend decades in prison and pay millions of dollars in fines.
Contributing: Nick Ochsner, WVEC-TV, Hampton-Norfolk, Va.; The Associated Press