Welcome to LoudounTimes.com
Loudoun Times-Mirror

UPDATED: Former Gov. McDonnell, wife guilty on most counts

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife were convicted Thursday of taking bribes to promote a dietary supplement in a corruption case that derailed the career of the onetime rising Republican star and laid bare the couple's broken marriage.

A federal jury in Richmond convicted Bob McDonnell of 11 of the 13 counts he faced; Maureen McDonnell was convicted of nine of the 13 counts she faced. Both bowed their heads and wept as the court clerk read a chorus of "guilty" verdicts.

Widely considered a possible running mate for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential campaign, McDonnell was reduced to living with the family's priest in a church rectory during the trial. Now he and his wife face up to 20 years in prison for each conspiracy, fraud and bribery conviction. Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 6.

The couple's defense strategy depended in large part on convincing jurors that their marriage itself was a fraud and that they were unable to speak to each other, let alone conspire to accept bribes. They left the courtroom separately -- first Bob and then Maureen, who hugged one of her daughters and wept loudly on the way out.

Bob McDonnell was ashen as he was mobbed by TV cameras before climbing into a waiting blue Mercedes.

"All I can say is that my trust remains in the Lord," he said quietly. His attorney said he would appeal.

The McConnells were convicted on nearly all the counts involving doing favors for wealthy vitamin executive Jonnie Williams in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans that they admitted taking.

Maureen McDonnell also was convicted of obstructing justice after the scandal broke, by returning a designer gown Williams had bought for her during a New York shopping trip, along with a handwritten note that tried to diminish its value by suggesting they had agreed Williams could give the dress to his daughters or to charity. That conviction also carries a potential 20-year term.

Jurors acquitted them of bank fraud on loan applications that failed to mention the money Williams lent them.

The former governor, his head in his hands, began crying as soon as he heard the first sob from his daughter Cailin. Other family members and supporters followed suit. The weeping became louder, and McDonnell's sobbing grew more intense, with each succeeding finding of guilt.

Juror Kathleen L. Carmody said it was wrenching to watch the McDonnell family's teary reaction.

"When the verdicts were read, you could not be human and not feel sorry, or empathy or compassion for the McDonnell family," she said.

Carmody said she voted for McDonnell and thought he was a great governor, but added: "The facts spoke for themselves."

Juror Robin Trujillo, who moved to the Richmond area about a year and a half ago and wasn't familiar with the McDonnells before the trial, said it "wasn't just one light bulb" that swayed the jury toward a guilty verdict. But after deciding on guilt on the first conspiracy charge "everything kind of fit together like a puzzle," she said.

Testifying in his own defense, McDonnell insisted that he provided nothing more than routine political courtesies to the former CEO of Virginia-based Star Scientific. His wife's lawyers, meanwhile, said Williams preyed on their client's vulnerability after she developed a "crush" on the businessman.

Maureen McDonnell did not take the stand even as her private life was exposed, with staff from the governor's mansion and aides testifying that her erratic behavior risked becoming a political embarrassment.

The jurors all declined to speak to reporters as they left the courthouse through a back door.

"I just want to go home," one of them said.

Bob McDonnell's attorney, Henry Asbill, said he was shocked, surprised and disappointed. He complained that prosecutors sought to criminalize routine political behavior, and said, "I have no idea what the jury deliberated about."

Maureen McDonnell's attorney, William Burck, declined comment.

Williams, who testified under immunity, said he spent freely on the McDonnells to secure their help promoting his tobacco-derived anti-inflammatory supplement Anatabloc as a treatment for ulcers, Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis. Williams declined to comment on the verdicts, his attorney said.

His gifts included nearly $20,000 in designer clothing and accessories for Maureen McDonnell, a $6,500 engraved Rolex watch for Bob, $15,000 in catering for their daughter Cailin's wedding, free family vacations and golf outings for their boys. Williams also provided three loans totaling $120,000.

As the gifts rolled in, the McDonnells appeared at promotional events and even hosted a launch luncheon for Anatabloc at the governor's mansion. Williams and his associates also were allowed into a reception for Virginia health care leaders at the mansion, and McDonnell arranged meetings with state health officials as Williams sought state money and the credibility of Virginia's universities for research that would support Anatabloc.

Defense lawyers argued that none of this was done for bribes, because the governor didn't consider the favors to be anything special, the research grant applications were never submitted, and being first lady isn't an official position.

If she's not a public official and the couple weren't speaking, there was no conspiracy, they said.

Witnesses -- including the former governor himself -- said Maureen McDonnell despised being first lady, and was prone to such angry outbursts that the mansion staff threatened a mass resignation. McDonnell said he began working unnecessarily late, just to avoid her anger.

If Maureen McDonnell was portrayed as erratic, the powerful and straight-arrow image her politician husband fostered didn't fare much better. The defense introduced a September 2011 email from McDonnell to his wife lamenting the deterioration of their marriage, complaining about her "fiery anger" and begging her to work with him to repair the relationship.

While several witnesses described the first lady's relationship with Williams as inappropriate and flirtatious, none suggested it was physical, and Williams testified that his dealings with both McDonnells were all business.

Prosecutors said the McDonnells turned to Williams in desperation because they were grappling with $90,000 in credit card debt and annual losses of $40,000 to $60,000 on family-owned vacation rentals in Virginia Beach. Williams said he wrote the first $50,000 check to Maureen after she complained about their money troubles and offered to help his company.

Virginia has among the nation's weakest political ethics laws, and McDonnell repeatedly stressed that he did nothing to violate them. But this case was federal, and both prosecutors and FBI officials said the verdicts send a message that state laws provide no shelter from corruption prosecutions.

Virginia's current Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring, both Democrats who were elected as the scandal developed, have imposed strict gift bans and ethics policies on their own staff, and called for tougher rules than the ethics reform that passed the Republican-controlled legislature this summer.

"We have a long way to go to restore the public's trust," Herring said in a statement. "It should be crystal clear that the people of Virginia deserve real ethics reform.:

Associated Press writers Alan Suderman, Steve Szkotak and Michael Felberbaum contributed to this report.


The two of you not knowing who Ward Churchill is only proves you are low information voters. Please remember to vote the 1st Wednesday of November

Keep on adjusting that foil hat I am sure you will get the final piece to your conspiracy puzzle.

Who’s Ward Ch? Good 2 know ur playlist = Hardly wkg

F’edupdude, where do you get your news from? NPR? NBC? CBS? ABC. Did you know that ABC didn’t even report on their own poll saying that Obama’s poll number are the worst they have ever been? Bet you didn’t know that did you. You were probably too busy watch Looney Tune reruns on the cartoon network. Did you know An aide to Eric Holder, who thought he was calling Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings’ office for help on leaking documents to selected reporters, accidentally spilled the beans of the latest IRS spin job because he called House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s office instead. This newest twist in the IRS targeting scandal, that broke Tuesday night, was not covered on ABC, CBS or NBC’s Wednesday morning shows. Now who is the clueless one and the low info voter? YOU!!!! Now go back to watching the best of Arnold Ziffle episodes from Green Acre’s.

I don’t even know who you are talking about; sounds like cable news. Anyone listen to that muck is low info for sure. Fox viewers are consistently the most misinformed people in this nation. CNN and MSNBC got nothing to brag about either.

You claim to be informed but spout stuff the right wing mouth pieces say that is proven nonsense. Darrell Issa is the boy who cried wolf. Every one of his stunning revelations has been total nonsense, half truths easily debunked by the facts in each case.

Equity, another fan of Ward Churchill! Wake up from your MSNBC slumber. Your country and your way of life depend on it

Megyn Kelly 2 O’Reilly “pepper spray is food product, essentially”?
? right leanings & anything faux

and another thing F’edupdude. I wonder if you watched your hero Ward Churchill the last 2 nights on Megyn Kelly. I know it interrupted your Nickelodean Must See TV hour but you would of been very informed and maybe it would of made you think twice about all of your left wing leanings.

F’edupdude, if you’re referring to the ACA they are nothing but a mouth piece for the Obama Administration. Half truths? Negative.  I investigate and become very knowledagbale of what I’m talking about unlike you who spout off other peoples opinions and take them as fact without doing your own do diligence. Now go back to your Rachel Don’t Know, Al Not too Sharpton and Lawrence O’Gonnell. Then after that you can tune into the New Sponge Bob Gets Stranded on Gilligans Island movie. And don’t forget your Cheeto’s and Kool Aid.

Its always funny to watch the guy who believes half truths and lies yell about low info voters. Just like the other thread where he is willing to listen to politicians over doctors on medical issues.

the Republican Congress spends money to get to the bottom of runaway scandals only to be stonewalled by the Rogue attorney General Eric Holder. And are you talking about the Committee that didn’t even interview the then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton? What aboout the testimony of the CIA employees that were told to stand down? I guess you missed that little factoid or were you at Nordstrom Rack buying shoes and you missed that one. Again, too many unanswered questions.  Now get back to your Gilligans Island reruns on MeTV. LOW INFORMATION VOTER!!!

The House Intelligence Committee, led by Republicans, has concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

It doesn’t matter what we think we saw. We weren’t on the Committee. The Committee saw, they heard, and they ruled. End of story.

Lots of passive aggressive behavior going on in these posts,  Why ?  This clown and his clownette, were supposed to be representing ALL of us in VA.  Instead, they have both just been convicted of breaching that trust; we should all be happy now.

workhardgetahead buys into the half truths and conspiracy theories and need no solid evidence to back them up. The rest of America on the other hand just sees the republicans wasting money on a fishing expedition producing no fish.

conspiracy theory? I don’t think so. There are many questions that have gone unanswered in the Benghazi debacle and for you being unable to see that only speaks volumes for your cluelessness. I don’t play golf and when I’m on vacatipon I still pay attention to what is going on. As for you, I think they have a sale on Frito’s at Harris Teeter this week,  continue watching your Sponge Bob, Square Pants marathon and remember to vote the 1st Wednesday of November.

workhardgetahead, you silly thing, that report is the graded test. Your conspiracy theory failed. Move on to something else, like golf or vacations.

Uh oh somebody didn’t do their homework. Agentj, go stand in the corner, put your finger in your mouth and put on your dunce cap because you didn’t do your homework.

Talk about national party situations, is only a way for republican types to cover up the local reality of this story.  It is a former Virginia republican governor convicted.  Lets not let posters deflect us from asking the obvious question.  When Loudoun Board of Supervisors takes huge amounts in campaign funds from developers, and then votes for those developers, isn’t that a problem?  Ken Reid, Leesburg Supervisor, took a large amount of campaign contributions from developers.  And you can see how Tom Dunn, his appointee to the Loudoun County Planning Commission, is now the poster child for voting for more and more residential units.  So, again the question is, when you see the names of those on the republican sample ballot this November, how much did each take for their votes?

Pay attention, kids:

According to The San Francisco Chronicle and numerous other print sources, including

The House Intelligence Committee, led by Republicans, has concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, said Rep. Mike Thompson of St. Helena, the second-ranking Democrat on the committee.

The panel voted Thursday to declassify the report, the result of two years of investigation by the committee. U.S. intelligence agencies will have to approve making the report public.

Thompson said the report “confirms that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order (to U.S. forces) was given.”

It’s over. Go home.

F’edupdude is watching Nickelodeon and eating Cheeto’s. PAY ATTENTION!! I guess it’s just a coincidence that Lois Lerners Laptop crashed? I guess you didn’t pay attention to that little factoidH. What about the VA? Regarding Benghazi, Find it within yourself and tune in and watch the CIA operatives tonight at 10pm on Fox (I know it’s not MSLSD) and tell me there isn’t anything there. Put the Cheetos down and actually pay attention. Your country and your way of life depends on it.

Or maybe its the fact no matter how deep you dig into IRS, Benghazi, or Fast and Furious there is no wrong doing or hidden secret you have not found yet. Mistakes were made but there is nothing criminal in those cases.

yes, I grant you that the GOP led congress has spent money investigating but only to be stonewalled by Holder’s Justice Department. Maybe you should stop worrying about the color of shoes you need to buy and also stop watching TMZ and start paying attention to the issues. Your country and your way of life depaends on it.

Oh please!!  “But everyone else is doing it”, is not an excuse. 

What disengenousYou just said times 2!

I don’t have a problem going after politicians, however it should be all of them, not just a few. At least 75% are corrupt, should be in jail and fined at least $1 million. And the guilty ones should lose all their pension and benefits.

Oh dear, “workhardgetahead”.... Where have you been?  That delightful GOP controlled Congress has spent millions of tax payer dollars investigating those supposed “scandals” only to come up with the realization that the only scandal was in their minds.  Time to tune off of Faux News and join the rest of America.

Fallout? Seriously, this is a national mid term election. We have a stagnant economy, a weak president who only votes present. Political Scandals up to our neck, i.e. IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, need I say more. We have a rogue Attorney General who was appointed by this Imperial President and you think Virginians are going to think about an ex-Governor who didn’t even break state law? This lawsuit was brought on by AG Holder. He is out to paralyze the Republican party in this state and nationally. Remember what Obama said? He will bring a gun to knife fight to defeat his enemies. It’s to bad they don’t feel this way when it comes to ISIS but when it comes to the Republicans/Conservatives anything goes.

Fallout similar to when Blago was busted meaning there will be no influence from the former Governor effecting the races.

Perhaps our esteemed BoS, should be more careful of folks like those running the Loudoun Hounds and refrain from posting pictures on social media of their largesse at Redskins games. Or be much more careful doing favors for wealthy landowners to avoid being taxed, mean while that tax revenue means every homeowner picks up that delta.

Next should be Ken Cuccinelli to explain why he was taking gifts while overseeing Star Scientific’s tax case.  And then why Ken’s AG office gave Johnnie Williams and Star a nice discount on that tax bill.

Let’s not forget these people being corrupt:
Eric Holder
Barak Obama
Alcee Hastings
Jesse Jackson Jr
Laura Richardson
Maxine Waters
John Edwards
Barney Frank
Janet Nepolitano
Nancy Pelosi
Charles Rangel
Kathleen Sebelius

These are just to name a few. It’s on both sides…it’s just the left leaning media never talks about these Dumbacrats.

Predict fallout 11-4-14

The verdict is deserved; but it is embarrassing to be a Virginian…a sad day.

The comments hit the right points.  Republicans as a party, have for too long been the party viewed as taking money, in a way that shocks the public.  Now, when I see someone who says, “I am on the republican sample ballot” I think, how much have you been given for your votes.

Perhaps our republican BOS should reconsider adopting the “Code of Ethics” and “Standards of Conduct” that they arranged to deep-six a week or two after being sworn into office.

How in the world could the GOP selection process have been so wrong about this guy?  The level of corrupt activity, his selfless wife under the bus move, and his sorry for himself crying binge reflect a deep rooted narcissistic tenor. 

I feel sorry for his kids, but at least now they will learn a lesson about “entitlement”.

The GOP needs to take a real hard look at the type of candidates they select.  This has never happened to any party in the history of the Commonwealth.  Shameful.

Funny how the Justice department can swiftly get this tried but when it comes to the IRS and the numerous other Obama scandals you can barely get their cooperation. Something is rotten and that something is Eric Holder.

Another corrupt politician bites the dust.  “I am not a crook!”

Post a comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments express only the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website or any associated person or entity. Any user who believes a message is objectionable can contact us at ltmeditor@loudountimes.com.

More News

The Loudoun Times-Mirror

is an interactive, digital replica
of the printed newspaper.
Click here for all e-editions.