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LIVE UPDATES: Judge denies McDonnell motion to dismiss the case

RICHMOND, Va. — The federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, is now in its third week at the Federal Courthouse in Richmond.

Scroll down for updates from the proceedings from CBS 6 political reporter Joe St. George. [Click to follow Joe on Twitter] [Click for week one updates][Click for week two updates]

Scott Wise August 16, 20148:57 am

The judge in the McDonnell case denied a motion to dismiss. Here is a report from Joe St. George.

Scott Wise August 16, 20148:56 am

Seems like every one has an opinion about the McDonnell trial. Even the people serving hot dogs outside Federal Court in Richmond.

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Joe St. George August 14, 20147:51 pm

Day 14 Summary: The Government rests

After 45 witnesses and nearly three weeks of testimony, the government rested its case Thursday.

FBI Special Agent David Hulser testified for several hours Thursday,
meticulously recounting the 2.5 year investigation which encompassed 3.5
million documents.

The most memorable moment occured when the prosecutors paraded all of
the NYC shopping trip items in front of the jury so they could see for
themselves the gifts in person.

Thursday we also received a value the government gave the Jonnie Williams gifts and loans. They totaled it at $177,044.06 cents.

The government did share some previously unseen text messages
including one from Maureen McDonnell to Bob McDonnell’s sister: “I left
you messages because I worked on this loan four a year – not Bob”

The government also reemphasized several other text messages including one from Bob McDonnell to Jonnie Williams on May 18, 2012: “Johnnie per voicemail would like to see if you could extend another 20K loan for this year”

The prosecution attempted to undermine some parts of the government’s motive theory.
While the McDonnell’s had $90K plus in credit card debt in September 2010 – Bob McDonnell Attorney Hank Asbill asked questions highlighting the fact Bob McDonnell had close to 200K in unused credit with his credit rating always remaining “excellent.”

Maureen McDonnell Atty. Bill Burke attempted to show the charts the government presented to the jury lacked some key text messages including one from Jonnie Williams to the McDonnell family in March 2013 that says “Celeste and I are proud to be your friends.”

Motions will be dealt with on Friday. The jury will have the day off however. The defense is expected to present its case for the first time Monday.

Alix Bryan August 14, 20147:43 pm

Make sure to watch Joe St. George’s video re-cap.

Joe St. George August 14, 20147:42 pm

Day 14 Summary: The Government rests

After 45 witnesses and nearly three weeks of testimony, the government rested its case Thursday.

FBI Special Agent David Hulser testified for several hours Thursday, meticulously recounting the 2.5 year investigation which encompassed 3.5 million documents.

The most memorable moment occured when the prosecutors paraded all of the NYC shopping trip items in front of the jury so they could see for themselves the gifts in person.

Thursday we also received a value the government gave the Jonnie Williams gifts and loans. They totaled it at $177,044.06 cents.
The government did share some previously unscene text messages including one from Maureen McDonnell to Bob McDonnell’s sister: “I left you messages because I worked on this loan four a year – not Bob”

Joe St. George August 14, 20145:12 pm
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Alix Bryan August 14, 20144:20 pm

The government rests its case against former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen. 

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Joe St. George August 13, 201410:17 pm

Day 13 Summary:

Wednesday we learned the government will rest its case on Thursday. Friday is slated for various motions with the defense beginning their case on Monday.

Several bank executives took the stand Wednesday as the government shifted its focus from corruption charges to fraud charges.

(Although we did learn that when the McDonnell’s took office in 2010 they had around $70,000 in credit card debt. Their credit card debt peaked at $90,928.41 in September 2010. )

On the witness stand Wednesday was the Mayor of Virginia Beach William Sessoms. Sessoms testified not because he is a politician but because he is President of Towne Bank.

The prosecution alleges the McDonnells lied to that banking institution while filling out loan paperwork.

The government says that the McDonnell’s never included the Jonnie Williams loans on the form.

During cross examination, Bob McDonnell attorney John Brownlee asked if loans that did not have official paperwork needed to be included. Brownlee also brought up the point that the Williams loan was to MoBo his real estate company and not to Bob McDonnell the person.  Sessoms seemed to agree corporate debt did not need to be included on forms where personal debt was requested.
Nan Bolt – a representative from Pentagon Federal Credit Union – also testified at great length Wednesday.

Bolt was involved in a refinancing application that Bob and Maureen McDonnell requested.

The government alleges the McDonnell falsified those documents as well by not mentioning the Williams loans until three days after Mrs. McDonnell was interviewed by investigators for the first time.

McDonnell attorneys claim that the couple made a common error in the early stages of the application and that it was not intentional.

FBI Special Agent David Husler will continue his testimony Thursday.

Husler acquired 3.5 million documents related to the McDonnells when investigating this case.

Husler is most likely the final witness before the government rests.

Joe St. George August 13, 20149:58 pm
Alix Bryan August 13, 20147:15 pm

Watch Joe St. George’s re-cap of Day 13 at the trial. The prosecution is expected to rest its case tomorrow. 

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Prosecution counters by saying “Have you ever shook the hand of a corporation” Sessoms says “no”

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Joe St. George August 12, 20147:51 pm

Day 12 Summary:

A lot was thrown at the jury Tuesday – as one of their own was excused.

While court was scheduled to begin at 9:45 am, it did not begin until after 10:15 am as drama unfolded in Judge James Spencer’s Chamber.

While specific details were not made known, a male juror was dismissed and one of three alternates replaced him. That means only two alternate jurors remain.

Adding to the drama was Governor Bob McDonnell who appeared visibly upset at this time however afterwards he told reporters he was just reading his devotional booklet.

Up first on the witness stand Tuesday was former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. He told the jury that Jonnie Williams hired him to get state money for his product on the advice of another former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

While Kilgore said “it is sad for the family and sad for the commonwealth” going into court, on the stand Kilgore testified Williams appeared concerned with his relationship with the McDonnell’s to such an extent he didn’t want to “poach” Mrs. McDonnell’s aide Mary Shea Sutherland out of fear the McDonnell’s would be upset.

Following Kilgore, VCU cardiologist Dr. George Vetrovec testified Williams once picked him up at the hospital in a luxury car and drove him over to the Governor’s Mansion because “the first lady makes good cookies.” After Williams parked his car on the mansion lawn, Vetrovec testified Williams then introduced him to Stephen Spielberg who happened to be at the mansion that day.

Vetrovec said Williams repeatedly mentioned his product Anatabloc – presumably to improve his chances of getting a clinical study paid for by the state which Williams testified he wanted.

“This shows the unfettered access Jonnie Williams had to the mansion,” CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said.

After lunch, Jonnie Williams’ brother Donnie appeared on the witness stand. 

Donnie testified he made several repairs to the McDonnell’s Glen Allen home including buying a new hot tub cover, staining the deck, fertilizing the lawn, replacing hard wood flooring, and repairing cracked granite. When asked if Mrs. McDonnell ever paid for these things before the investigation was made public — Donnie said “No.” During cross examination, Donnie did testify however that he typically only did such things for family and friends.

Virginia State Police Special Agent Charles Hagan also appeared on the stand Tuesday. Hagan said that he began investigating the McDonnells after evidence was collected in a Mansion Chef embezzlement case he was working on in which Todd Schneider – the Executive Chef at the mansion – was accused of taking state property.

Hagan also said that while he never asked for it, individuals on the Governor’s security detail would relay information to him regarding the governor’s involvement with Jonnie Williams.

Bob McDonnell’s attorney John Brownlee seemed to imply that meant the men and women charged with protecting the Governor were simultaneously investigating him.

Virginia Beach Mayor William Sessoms took the stand late Tuesday as well and will continue his testimony on Wednesday. Sessoms is also the president of the bank that Bob McDonnell is accused of lying to while applying for a loan application.

See you tomorrow.

JSG

Nick Dutton August 12, 20146:31 pm

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Nick Dutton August 12, 20146:31 pm

Another busy day in federal court. Here’s Joe St. George’s report from CBS 6 News at 6 p.m.

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Joe St. George August 11, 20148:24 pm

Day 11 Summary:

We saw the Chief of Staff, the brother in law, two top administrative officials, a UVA official, and a former Attorney General on the witness stand Monday.

Week three began with Martin Kent – the governor’s chief of staff – testifying how the governor’s actions regarding driving the Ferrari impacted the “morale” of his security detail since it is their job to protect him.

Kent, who worked for McDonnell in the Attorney’s General Office as well, testified he did not know of Jonnie Williams until after Bob McDonnell was elected.

Kent also testified however that McDonnell never asked for anything on Williams behalf nor did Williams receive any state funds from the governor’s budget.

The government refuted that statement by arguing a Health Leaders event Jonnie Williams attended at the mansion was paid for by state funds.

Next up were Sarah Wilson and Lisa Hicks Thomas – top administrative officials for the Commonwealth during the McDonnell administration.

Wilson testified that Star Scientific came to her ( on the same day the government alleges McDonnell was meeting with Williams to discuss a loan ) and asked that the product anatabloc be included on the state’s health plan. She said she denied that request because she believed the product was “not ready for prime time.”

Lisa Hicks Thomas testified that during a meeting to discuss state employee health coverage Governor Bob McDonnell pulled out a bottle of Anatabloc and said he “thought it would be good for state employees.”

Perhaps the most dramatic testimony Monday came from Bob McDonnell’s ex brother in law: Michael Uncapher.

Uncapher is the former husband of Bob’s sister Maureen.

Uncapher testified that when the MoBo vacation rental property business began in 2005, they anticipated a shortfall of $50,000 a year.

Uncapher also testified that the family received other loans in addition to the $50,000 dollar check they received from Jonnie Williams in 2012. Dr. Paul Davis gave the family $50,000 grand in 2009 and Bob McDonnell’s father John gave the family $100,000 in 2007.

Finishing up testimony Monday was former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. Kilgore testified he received about $100,000 dollars from Williams during his political career in donations but that he never took personal loans from the donor while running for office. Kilgore said Williams became a client of his in 2011 after Williams wanted access to Tobacco Commission funds.

Kilgore – who will finish his testimony Tuesday morning – also said that Jonnie Williams did not want to hire Maureen McDonnell’s chief of staff because he didn’t want to upset the First Lady since he needed her for his product.

(The defense has previously established that Jerry’s wife is head of the Virginia Foundation for Health Youth which is funded by the Tobacco Commission. Jerry’s brother Terry is currently head of the Tobacco Commission).

See you Tuesday at 9:45 AM

Nick Dutton August 11, 20148:05 pm

Here’s Joe St. George’s report from CBS 6 News at 6 p.m.

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Nick Dutton August 11, 201412:17 pm

Here’s the latest video report on Monday’s proceedings from Jake Burns.

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We are back for week three…..scroll down to the bottom for my colleague Nick Dutton’s link on Week 2 and Week 1 updates…

Nick Dutton August 10, 201411:07 pm

It should come as no surprise that the trial of former state governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen has once again made Virginia the brunt of some jokes. But did you see the trial was featured on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart?”

Nick Dutton August 10, 201411:06 pm

Catch up on what you missed in court last week here. 

4 comments

  • See

    Defense Team was the weakest ever so publicized, display and highlighted.
    Man on the street could have argued, impugned, and defended better with just with common sense. Seems they surrendered day one and were too weak to even wave the white flag.
    Maybe they were Federally Bribed too, under duress and threats. Set up, trial prepped, and
    and bombarded for a year , think Federal Mission Purpose is Accomplished! through gossip,
    hot topics, fashion, and cat fights. WHAT exactly did Williams GET from the Governor’s
    office and power and state taxes? Really doesn’t seem to matter.

  • Sam

    Becky Brown, how many names are you going to use to comment, a thousand? You are still as crazy as a loon regardless of the name you use.

Comments are closed.

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