Defense Calls the Witnesses
4:47 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

McDonnell Trial Update from Day 15

Former Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Vestal Kelly
Former Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Vestal Kelly

Day 15 of the federal corruption trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, began with the replacement of a juror who had to go out-of-state for a family emergency. 

That leaves just one alternate juror in the event that any others are excused.   This week the defense is calling the witnesses—in hopes of casting doubt on the prosecution’s case.

The day’s primary witness was Janet Vestal Kelly, the former Secretary of the Commonwealth under McDonnell, who has known and often worked for him since 1999. 

Kelly said the administration felt a sense of urgency about his top priority of creating jobs—and that it was integrated into all secretariats.  She said thousands of people requested meetings, and it was commonplace to refer them to top officials or staff.  She said no one had be a political donor to make that happen or get the governor’s attention.

Regarding treatment of political donors, Kelly said McDonnell told her if you can’t accept a contribution one day and vote against that person the next day, you shouldn’t be in politics. 

In response to questions about Maureen McDonnell, Kelly’s eyes welled up with tears as she said she did not want to pile on the former first lady. Kelly said as gubernatorial campaign manager, she learned how difficult Maureen was to work with. She said that continued as first lady, including yelling at the governor, secrecy, and when the Executive Mansion staff wrote a letter threatening to quit due to Maureen’s behavior.

Kelly testified that Bob McDonnell was fatherly to staff, never yelled at anyone, and was extraordinarily gracious.