Judge refuses to drop charges against former Va. governor and wife

An FBI agent showed jurors high-end dresses, shoes and sweaters given former Gov. Robert McDonnell and his wife as the prosecution case against him wound down.
By Frances Burns   |   Aug. 15, 2014 at 4:48 PM
| License Photo

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A federal judge refused Friday to drop corruption charges against former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and his wife after prosecutors rested their case.

Lawyers for McDonnell argued that not everything he did as governor of Virginia was an official act. Maureen McDonnell's lawyers said she was not a public official.

Prosecutors spent three weeks putting on witnesses who said the couple accepted lavish gifts from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the former CEO of Star Scientific. In return, the McDonnells allegedly helped Williams promote dietary supplements.

On Thursday, as prosecutors closed their case, an FBI agent testified that he estimated the value of Williams' gifts and loans at $177,000. Special Agent David Hulser held up a series of high-end dresses, shoes and sweaters.

Defense lawyers say that whatever Williams did for the McDonnells, the company got little in return. Prosecution witnesses did testify that McDonnell and his wife did Williams a lot of favors, including a reception at the governor's mansion where Williams played a major role in drawing up the guest list.

Jurors were given Friday off. The defense case is set to begin Monday.

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