In this May 5, 2011 file photo provided by the office of the Governor of Virginia, Jonnie Williams left, and Maureen McDonnell, wife of then Gov. Bob McDonnell, pose for a photo during a reception for a NASCAR race at the Executive Mansion in Richmond, Va.
In Virginia, businessman Jonnie Williams is expected back in court for a third day of testimony, capping off a dramatic first week in the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell — a trial expected to carry on for another four weeks.
Corruption, power, romance, and lies. Week one had it all, and more. Now jurors are headed to the federal courthouse in Richmond to hear more from Jonnie Williams, the former executive of a nurtritional suppliment company. The real fireworks will start when defense attorneys rip into Williams, a man they say duped the governor and seduced his wife.
"One of the things that's complicated by the so-called 'crush defense' is really the only person who can effectively make that defense is Maureen McDonnell," says white-collar criminal defense lawyer Michael Levy. He says Maureen McDonnell's lawyers shrewdly avoided promising her testimony, giving them the option to call or not call her.
"Really the only person who can make that defense is Maureen McDonnell. Unless she gets on the stand and testifies that she had a crush on Jonnie Williams, it's very difficult to establish that defense. Who else knows about that but Maureen McDonnell?" he says.
In his opening statement, the lawyer for Maureen McDonnell tried to cast Jonnie Williams as a lecherous scoundrel, a man who changed his story so many times it was difficult to keep track of his lies. Williams will be cross examined twice, once by the legal team representing the governor, and then a second time by lawyers who say their client had an inappropriate relationship with him.
"The fact that this case seems to focus on the activities and involvements of Maureen McDonnell, who is not a public official, I think it makes it that much harder for the government to prove its case," says Levy.
If convicted, Maureen McDonnell could face a maximum of thirty years in prison.