- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2014

RICHMOND — The corruption trial of former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife kicked off Monday morning with attorneys revealing scores of potential witnesses expected to testify in the case that could last at least a month.

The names included former Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, and members of the McDonnell family and Mr. McDonnell’s administration.

Judge James R. Spencer also assigned a 12-member jury, with instructions scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. and opening statements to follow.

Prosecutors filed a list of 61 potential witnesses, and the defense team submitted a list of 121. Many of them overlap.

Potential witnesses also include Health and Human Resources Secretary William A. Hazel Jr., who served under Mr. McDonnell and was retained by Gov. Terry McAuliffe; Martin Kent, Mr. McDonnell’s former chief of staff; and businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr.

Mr. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, have been accused of accepting gifts and loans from Mr. Williams in exchange for access to the governor and his office to promote his business.

The McDonnells have pleaded not guilty to charges laid out in a 14-count indictment handed up in January, days after Mr. McDonnell left office, saying Mr. Williams plied the first family with gifts and loans in exchange for access to peddle his products, most notably a dietary supplement called Anatabloc.

Mr. McDonnell has maintained that the gifts were motivated by friendship.

“I’m glad we’re going to finally get a chance to present our defense in court,” Mr. McDonnell said Monday as he entered the courtroom.

Both the McDonnells are listed as potential witnesses, but it is unclear whether the former governor will testify and his wife is not expected to.

Other potential witnesses include Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell, Stafford Republican, and Bobbie Kilberg, a big name in Northern Virginia GOP circles.

Mr. Williams, who has been granted broad immunity, is on the witness list for both the defense and the prosecution. Observers say much of the case could depend on his testimony about his relationship with the McDonnells.

Judge Spencer dismissed the jurors shortly before closing for the day.

“Pray for the rest of us,” he said. “We need it.”

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