Pre-Trial Hearing for Former Governor & Wife
While they sat separately but alongside their defense teams, former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, seemed to have a much calmer demeanor than some of other court appearances associated with their upcoming federal corruption trial. Their defense has been dealt several blows, but their latest pretrial hearing sought to discredit the prosecution’s tactics and star witness.
The hearing first focused on whether McDonnell’s financial disclosures intentionally omitted gifts he or his family received from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in order to hide their relationship. Those include golf trips and paying for wedding catering for the McDonnells’ daughter.
Prosecutors also accuse the former first lady of selling off stock in Williams' company to hide earnings in excess of state reporting requirements.
While the defense argued there was some confusion about what should be reported, they also noted that former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was investigated for his acceptance of gifts and cleared. They argue McDonnell should be held to the same standard.
Next, there was the cross-examination of a defense witness who performed a forensic analysis of their finances. He said he would testify that the couple had a positive net worth to invalidate claims that the couple conspired with Williams to get them out of debt. He said in fact, it was Williams who benefited financially from the government’s intentional delay of two civil suits against his company.
The judge says he expects to render a decision about what evidence or witness testimony he will admit or reject within a day or so.