Testimony wraps up in McDonnells’ corruption trial

Associated Press photo

Associated Press photo

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Testimony has wrapped up in the public corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. Closing arguments are set for Friday morning. The last witness Thursday was an FBI agent who testified that the McDonnells were together 90 percent of the nights during the 22 months that were the focus of the investigation. The testimony is intended to undercut a defense claim that the McDonnells’ marriage was so fractured they couldn’t have engaged in a conspiracy. The McDonnells are charged with taking more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company’s dietary supplements.  Williams testified under immunity that he spent lavishly on the McDonnells only to secure their help. McDonnell denied criminal wrongdoing.

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“The Roanoker” magazine is 40 years old

Roanoker-40th Anniversary coverThe Roanoker” magazine is 40 years old … its latest semi-monthly issue, on newsstands today, offers a retrospective on the valley. The 40th anniversary issue includes features on movers-and-shakers. WFIR’s Gene Marrano has more:

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Click here for Gene Marrano’s extended conversation with Roanoker magazine editor-in-chief Kurt Rheinheimer:

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the Virginia Tech-Carilion School of Medicine and Carilion Clinic add department of orthopaedic surgery

Health-NewsIt could be the start of a trend … the Virginia Tech-Carilion School of Medicine and Carilion Clinic have both added a department of orthopaedic surgery – and will share the resources. WFIR’s Gene Marrano has more:

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Two weeks after it is found barely alive at a landfill, young eagle is set for return to the wild

Eagle patientA young bald eagle that looked barely alive earlier this month will be returned to the wild later today. Workers at a landfill in Dublin found the eagle yearling about two weeks ago, and after rehabilitation at a wildlife hospital, the eagle looks good to go and will be released at Claytor Lake State Park. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Click here for full information on this eagle’s recovery and return.

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Close background check loopholes says coalition

Rasoul-gun check

Sam Rasoul speaks at gun violence prevention rally

Gun violence prevention advocates gathered in downtown Roanoke this afternoon, urging Congressman Bob Goodlatte and State Senator John Edwards to support more extensive background checks before someone is able to buy a firearm. Delegate Sam Rasoul was on hand as well … he spoke with WFIR’s Gene Marrano:

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UPDATE: Unknown if pilot ejected from fighter jet that crashed into VA mountainside

Breaking-NewsWESTFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ A Massachusetts Air National Guard officer says authorities are still searching for the pilot of a fighter jet that crashed in Virginia and do not know whether the pilot may have ejected. The single-seat F-15C crashed in the mountains of western Virginia on Wednesday morning. Col. James Keefe of the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard said at a news conference in Westfield, Massachusetts, that the missing pilot is an experienced flyer. He said the plane was on its way to New Orleans to have a radar installed as part of routine maintenance. Keefe said he had not received confirmation that anyone had reached the crash site. Officials say the pilot reported an inflight emergency, then lost radio contact.

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Froth coffee shop thinking bigger

WFIR---local-businessFirst he kept the Froth coffeehouse in Southwest Roanoke County from closing down altogether … now owner Michael Carroll is thinking bigger. WFIR’s Gene Marrano has this business update:

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Bob McDonnell defense rests; Maureen McDonnell defense begins

Associated Press photo

Associated Press photo

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A friend of Maureen McDonnell has suggested that the Virginia former first lady was easily manipulated by the wealthy businessman who showered her and her husband with gifts and loans. April Niamtu testified as a witness for Maureen McDonnell after lawyers for former Gov. Bob McDonnell rested their case Wednesday. The McDonnells are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company’s dietary supplements.  Niamtu described Maureen McDonnell as “very trusting, very gullible.” She said that on a trip to California, the first lady declined Williams’ request that she say a few words at a company event with researchers. But she says Williams introduced her anyway and called her to the stage for some remarks.

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Mountaintop winery in Roanoke Valley up for sale

WFIR---local-businessROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ A mountaintop winery in the Roanoke Valley has been put up for sale. Valhalla Vineyards is listed for $3.5 million. The winery is located atop Chestnut Mountain in Roanoke County. Real estate agent Zack McCoy tells The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/1nBTh8A) that the winery has been on the market since last November. But agents couldn’t publicly advertise the property because of a non-disclosure agreement. McCoy says the sale went public last month. Owners James and Debra Vascik bought the property in 1993 and opened the winery in 1999. James Vascik declined to comment on the sale.

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Former Va. governor wraps up his trial testimony

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell

Former Virginia
Gov. Bob McDonnell

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s public corruption trial is winding down in federal court in Richmond. McDonnell testified in his own defense for more than four days. He wrapped up his time on the witness stand Tuesday by acknowledging using bad judgment but firmly denying criminal wrongdoing. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company’s dietary supplements. The former governor’s lawyer told the judge that he has just one more witness to call Wednesday. Then Maureen McDonnell will present her case. Her attorney said that should take about three hours, leaving only closing arguments and instructions from the judge before the case goes to the jury.

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