Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, a well-liked politician that served 22 years in the public life, is officially the first Virginia Governor to be charged with a crime. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are charged with 14 criminal charges of public corruption and lying on financial documents.
The Washington Post reports on the scandalous trial that officially began on Monday, July 28th. McDonnell and his wife allegedly helped Jonnie R. Williams Sr., chief executive of a dietary supplement company, promote his products, going so far as to open the executive mansion to Williams to introduce a new product, in exchange for lavish gifts such as private plane rides, golf outings, expensive apparel and $120,000 in loans.
According to Douglas Wilder, a former Virginia governor as well and a friend of McDonnell, “It’s going to be ugly.”
Prosecutors intend on painting McDonnell as “a popular, squeaky clean and earnest public servant,” who has a corrupt and greedy double life, during which he and his wife had every intention of lending Williams the power of the governor’s office so the couple could live in luxury.
On the defense’s side, McDonnell’s attorneys are stirring up trouble with the case they intend to make. Court filings reveal that McDonnell’s attorneys are planning to assert that Maureen is the mastermind behind this scandal and that the former governor is merely a victim of his wife’s corrupt ways. They are preparing to unveil that Maureen went as far as accepting gifts from Williams without her husband knowing.
The couple’s marriage will undoubtedly be placed under the microscope as the court begins to dissect every detail of the case to be heard by U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer. Prosecutors will have to prove that the couple had plans to violate the right of Virginia voters to honest and ethical representatives by planning to perform “official” acts on behalf of Jonnie Williams Sr.