RICHMOND — Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s defense team rested its case Wednesday morning after Mr. McDonnell had spent all or part of five days defending himself on the witness stand in his public corruption trial.
Attorney Henry “Hank” Asbill had indicated Tuesday he planned to call an additional witness Wednesday morning, but instead announced Mr. McDonnell was resting his case.
Mr. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, have been accused of accepting more than $170,000 in gifts and loans in exchange for helping former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams Sr., promote his company and the nutritional supplement product Anatabloc.
Though the McDonnells are being tried jointly — multiple motions to sever the trials have been rejected — Mrs. McDonnell has her own legal team, and attorney William Burck indicated Tuesday that his case would take a few hours.
Mrs. McDonnell’s defense featured her eldest daughter being called to the stand. Jeanine McDonnell Zubowsky and her husband, Adam, had received a $10,000 check from Mr. Williams as an engagement gift and airline points for their honeymoon, though the check was returned in the spring of 2013 and the points cancelled.
When did you return the check? she was asked.
“Once we realized that Jonnie himself was a criminal,” she said.
Ms. McDonnell Zubowsky also said her parents largely put on an act in many cases for the public, masking a marriage that was deeply strained behind closed doors.
In a moment of candor in July 2011, she said her father told her, “I don’t know what to do anymore.”
“I can’t make her happy,” Ms. McDonnell Zubowsky said her father told her about her mother. “She’s always angry.”
She said that growing up she thought her mother was depressed and that there was “frustration, loneliness, anger at times” as Mr. McDonnell spent less time with his family when his public career advanced.
They were kind of “putting on an act” when they appeared at public events, she said, saying “it was like a switch clicked.”
The McDonnell’s eldest daughter also described her mother as having a “mild obsession” with Mr. Williams, but that she didn’t hear their relationship being described as anything other than friends.
The McDonnells’ defense, in part, relies on the contention that the couple’s marriage was so strained that they couldn’t have conspired together to assist Mr. Williams.