Judge tells potential McDonnell jurors to ‘not be intimidated’

RICHMOND, Va. – Jury selection started Monday in the corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is charged along with his wife of improperly accepting gifts from a businessman while in office in exchange for promoting his company.

[Click here for live updates from court]

McDonnell, a one-time rising star in the Republican Party with potential presidential ambitions, and his wife, Maureen, entered the federal courthouse in Richmond for the trial that is expected to last several weeks.

The pair has pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of fraud, making false statements, and obstruction. They were indicted in January after McDonnell left office. Virginia governors cannot serve consecutive terms.

The McDonnells are accused of accepting gifts with a combined value of $140,000 at minimum from nutritional supplement executive, Jonnie Williams, in exchange for promoting his company using the power and the trappings of the governor’s office.

The gifts included designer clothes, a Rolex watch, golf clubs, iPhones and a painting, according to a list of items included in the indictment.

At the time of the indictment, McDonnell admitted using poor judgment but said he didn’t commit any crime.

“I repeat emphatically that I did nothing illegal for Mr. Williams in exchange for what I believed was his personal generosity and friendship,” he said following the indictment.

At least 25 former staff members have been subpoenaed from both the prosecution and the defense, the Washington Post reported.

The list of witnesses is also set to include the head of the governor’s state police protection detail, Maureen McDonnell’s manicurist, and 14 researchers and administrators at the University of Virginia, according to the Post. All five of the family’s grown children may also be asked to take the stand.

The McDonnells lost their bid for separate trials.

23 comments

  • mbaker9105

    I don’t know if he’s the worst, but definitely an idiot…..him and his wife, IF this all turns out to be true And just stupid. If you’re going to be corrupt, at least get some serious bucks out of it dummies….off to prison with ye!!!!! Or maybe send him and his wife around to do things like clean up that stupid alley that woman in Richmond is complaining about, dressed in their ill-gotten furs and Rolex watches…and the daughter too, since she apparently reaped some benifits during her wedding….

  • athynz

    I love all the hate towards the man and his wife – what fine examples of human beings you all are. According to VA State law he did nothing illegal although it had the appearance of being unethical. The question remains – how did Jonnie Wiliams and his company benefit?

    • mbaker9105

      Johnny Williams is not on trial…The McDonnell,s are….educate yourself please, go read the indictment…..go ahead and state your next argument “well, everyone has done that”….

      Count One
      (Conspiracy to Defraud the Citizens of Virginia of Their Right to Honest Services by Use of Interstate Wires)
      violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349

      Counts Two through Four
      (Use of Interstate Wire Communications to Further Scheme to Defraud the Citizens of Virginia of Their Right to Honest Services)
      violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 2

      Count Five
      (Conspiracy to Obtain Property under Color of Official Right)
      violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951

      Counts Six through Eleven
      (Obtaining Property under Color of Official Right)
      violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1951 and 2

      Count Twelve
      (False Statement)
      violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1014 and 2

      Count Thirteen
      (False Statement)
      violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1014 and 2

      Count Fourteen
      (Obstruction of an Official Proceeding)
      violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1512(c)(2) and 2

      • athynz

        Where did I say Williams was on trial? I asked how he benefited from McDonnell’s alleged actions. Reading comprehension is fundamental. And yes this IS a Federal indictment what concerns me is that he broke no state laws and the Federal government should have no jurisdiction in a state matter – this is simply a liberal witch hunt.

    • mbaker9105

      Oh, by the way, something else you seem to have missed, this is a Federal Indictment, not a State Indictment, I don’t see any reference to violation of Virginia Statutes mentioned……duh….

    • Robbie

      Oh snap!!!! You just got shot down big time AZ. By the way…check your own posts regarding President Obama before you make claims about “what fine people you are”. You really have a lot of room to talk.

    • mbaker9105

      Your main question seemed to be how Williams benefited, thereby implying if he didn’t, no crime occurred, Again, please educate yourself. To put it in terms you may understand, if someone attempts to rob a store at gunpoint, but gets no money, it doesn’t mean they did not commit a crime….the didn’t commit robbery, the committed attempted robbery, and would be indicted for that. And despite your obvious views that it’s a witch hunt, I don’t like either party one way or the other, I think political parties are silly, the whole “you’re with me or against me” mentality, but I DO believe ALL politicians should be held accountable for their possible abuse of public office. Reagan dodged his misdeeds by using that tool Ollie North, and Clinton was just an all out scumbag liar I wouldn’t let around any female over 13 years old…

      • athynz

        Since you know all then it should not be any problem to tell me 1) How did Williams benefit? 2) Why did the Federal Government get involved in a state case that was dropped due to a lack of illegal activity?

  • oh

    Coincidentally, This Judge is a Member of a Democratic sponsored Democratic Tax Exempt/Special Interests Consortium that runs, subsidizes, shores up, and bolsters the Democratic Government, of, by for, and through The Democratic Way of Mutual Gratifications to Forward Agendas.
    It’s the “Just the Beginnings Foundation” originating out of Chicago.
    Check it out on their website. Just so happens The Board of Directors is currently hidden.

    • mbaker9105

      OH, so what? This is a Jury trial…from what I know about jury trials, the judge doesn’t even select the jury, the lawyers agree to include or exclude them, the judge may exclude them from CONSIDERATION based on the questions they were asked (criminal records, relationships, etc.), but the judge is just there to ensure that proper law procedures are adhered to, and decide differences in the interpretations of the law between the prosecution and defense (go watch some TV at least, watch where they say “objection your honor, leading the witness, etc.” to which the judge will sustain the objection and disallow or deny the objection, all of which WILL GO ON RECORD if either side objects to the ruling by the judge. And in a high profile case, I would dare say a judge of any political party would be VERY leery, and FOOLISH to attempt to sway the trial in their political view…..jeesh….it’s no wonder we have so many people in jail with the lack of basic knowledge of the judicial system….

  • PAM

    Ahynz, you are in denial. They are not on trial for nothing. It’s a reason they were indicted. Like I said the president is not on trial the McDonnell’s are.

    • athynz

      Those lacrosse players from Duke were not on trial for nothing. There was a reason they were indicted… oh wait, that’s right they were acquitted because the girl lied. AFTER the team was crucified by the press and found guilty in the court of public opinion – including by yours truly… which is why I tend to give the benefit of the doubt. In this case the case against the McDonnells was dropped by the State of VA due to a lack of wrongdoing. The federal government stepped in and decide to prosecute over a state matter. Why is that?

  • Marvin

    Athynz, how is the president a criminal???? For doing his job??? If that’s the case Bush was the biggest criminal of them all. But you don’t want to hear that though.

    • athynz

      You want reason why Obama is a criminal? How about his authorization of unmanned drone strikes against American citizens abroad without due process of law – i.e. a trail by a jury of their peers? Or there’s the whole issue of his doing an illegal end run around congress to release 5 Taliban members in exchange for a Taliban traitor to our country? Is that good enough for you or should I list more reasons? How is that “doing his job”?

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