RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ An attorney for the wife of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says during the couple’s corruption trial that their marriage was broken and the former first lady developed a crush on a businessman who gave the McDonnells gifts and cash. The McDonnells are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for helping promote his dietary supplements company.
Maureen McDonnell’s lawyer William A. Burck said Tuesday during opening statements that the former first lady was “duped” by Williams into thinking he cared for her. Burck said Williams also fooled the Department of Justice and has received immunity from a $10 million stock fraud investigation in exchange for testifying against the McDonnells. The former governor’s lawyers’ opening statements are to follow.
Earlier in the day, a federal prosecutor said the government will prove Virginia’s former governor and his wife illegally lined their pockets with gifts from a businessman who sought their influence to promote his company. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber delivered the government’s opening statement Tuesday. Aber said Jonnie Williams will testify under immunity that he initially lied to investigators when he said he was a personal friend of the McDonnells and wanted nothing in return for his generosity.