- The Washington Times - Monday, August 25, 2014

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell testified Monday that his wife never said or implied that she wanted him to do anything to help a wealthy businessman who had plied their family with gifts and loans.

Mrs. McDonnell’s lawyer, William Burck, wrapped up his questioning of Mr. McDonnell after the former governor said earlier Monday morning he wished he would have done more to help staff and his wife herself deal with her issues.

He said that after a management consultant recommended marriage counseling for the two — a suggestion they did not follow through on — Mrs. McDonnell eventually did receive treatment and began taking medication.

Earlier witnesses testified that Maureen McDonnell was difficult to work with and, in Mr. McDonnell’s view, did not treat staff properly.

“I failed to do enough to be able to fix and address all the problems with the staff, yes,” he said.

“I should have done more there, too,” he said with respect to his wife.

Mr. Burck once again asked Judge James R. Spencer to sever the trials, which Judge Spencer promptly rejected. The McDonnells are being tried together, but they have separate legal teams and Monday was the first chance for Mrs. McDonnell’s lawyers to question the former governor in hopes of extracting testimony that could help clear her name. She is not expected to take the stand in her own defense.

Over the course of his previous testimony, Mr. McDonnell portrayed himself as largely in the dark on many of the dealings between his wife and Mr. Williams.

Mr. Burck got Mr. McDonnell to acknowledge that there were, in fact, dealings and communications between himself and Jonnie R. Williams, Sr., the CEO of nutrition supplement company Star Scientific Inc., that his wife was not privy to. Among those discussions were negotiations over $70,000 in loans to a real estate company run by Mr. McDonnell and his sister.

Mrs. McDonnell’s legal team has argued that in her role as first lady — an unelected position in the state — she would have been unable to personally offer or deliver Mr. Williams anything in exchange for the gifts and loans he lavished on the family.

Mr. McDonnell also acknowledged that by the summer of 2012, he and Mr. Williams had developed a friendship that was separate and apart from the relationship between Mrs. McDonnell and Mr. Williams.

After Mr. Burck wrapped up his questioning Judge Spencer called for a morning break in the trial, after which the prosecution will have its chance to cross-examine Mr. McDonnell.

He is likely to be questioned about the extent to which the timing of luncheons, dinners, vacations, and loans involving Mr. Williams coincided with his exchanging emails, text messages, or phone calls with the McDonnells.

Monday marks Mr. McDonnell’s fourth day on the stand in his public corruption trial. He and the former first lady have been accused of accepting more than $170,000 in gifts and loans from Mr. Williams in exchange for promoting Mr. Williams‘ business interests.

Mr. McDonnell has testified he was in the dark until after the fact on many of the dealings between Mr. Williams and his wife, including a $20,000 shopping spree in New York, a $6,500 Rolex watch she gave him that turned out to be from Mr. Williams, and a $50,000 loan to Mrs. McDonnell.

He said he doesn’t blame his wife for his predicament, but he has said, however, that he blames Mr. Williams “in part” and that he misjudged the businessman.

He also delivered emotional testimony about a marriage that was falling apart during the time period he and Mrs. McDonnell are said to have traded the loans and gifts from Mr. Williams for helping him promote his company and nutritional supplement product Anatabloc.

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