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Last witness testifies at Va. Gov. McDonnell's trial

Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, spent most nights under the same roof during his years as Virginia governor, an FBI agent said.
By Frances Burns   |   Aug. 28, 2014 at 5:56 PM   |   Comments

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RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The final witness testified Thursday in the corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.

The trial now moves on to closing arguments and deliberations.

The McDonnells are charged with accepting $175,000 in loans and gifts from Jonnie Williams Sr., former CEO of Star Scientific. They allegedly returned the favor by helping him promote a nutritional supplement.

McDonnell, testifying last week, suggested that he and his wife had become estranged during his years in politics. He also described at least one occasion in the past when he admonished his wife for using a campaign list for commercial purposes, implying that he was not involved in any arrangement she had with Williams.

The former governor's testimony could protect his wife as well if the jury accepts it. Because Maureen McDonnell was not a public official, prosecutors must prove she conspired with her husband.

An FBI agent testified Thursday as a rebuttal witness for the prosecution. She told the jury that McDonnell and his wife spent most nights together during his time in office, either in the governor's mansion or elsewhere.

Special Agent Kathryn Weber acknowledged that on many occasions McDonnell returned to the mansion late at night and that all the official logs show that the couple were under the same roof. She said the logs show Williams visited the mansion at least twice when McDonnell was away.

McDonnell testified that he is now living with his pastor.

Jeanine McDonnell Zubowsky, the couple's oldest daughter, testified Wednesday as one of the final defense witnesses. She described her parents' marriage, saying her mother was often alone because her husband was busy with his career and politics.

"It was frustrating, and she felt alone at times," Zubowksy said. "I think she was depressed, so she would try to escape."

McDonnell told reporters during a break in the trial Thursday that he has not been perfect.

"I'm a human being, and like every one of you, we all do things we wish we did a little differently," he said. "It's just the way life is."

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