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Prosecutors to wrap up corruption case against Virginia governor, wife

By Gary Robertson

RICHMOND Va. (Reuters) - The prosecution’s case against former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife Maureen for bribery and corruption will likely conclude on Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Dry said on Wednesday.

Once the prosecution wraps up, defense attorneys are almost certain to move to dismiss the case, the first criminal trial of a Virginia governor.

U.S. District Court Judge James Spencer said he would take up any defense motions on Friday, along with what he referred to as a “media matter.” It was unclear what that was.

The trial is in its 13th day and is expected to run into September. The prosecution has called about two-thirds of its projected 60 witnesses.

The Republican former governor and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, are charged with 14 counts of bribery and corruption.

They are charged with accepting $165,000 in gifts and loans from businessman Jonnie Williams, the former chief executive of Star Scientific Inc, now Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals, in exchange for promoting his company and its dietary supplements.

Bank officials testified on Wednesday about refinancing loan applications the McDonnells, or the former governor and his sister, had made on properties including two rental houses in Virginia and a home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Prosecutors asserted that the couple did not report more than $120,000 in loans from Williams or stock they owned in Star Scientific on refinancing documents until three days after state police questioned Maureen McDonnell about one of the loans in February 2013.

Nanette Bolt, an executive with the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, said that on Feb. 18, 2013, McDonnell corrected in his own handwriting a refinancing application to reflect a $50,000 loan from Williams to his wife. He also reported the couple’s ownership of Star Scientific shares.

She said under prosecution questioning that McDonnell added a $70,000 loan from a trust controlled by Williams to MoBo Realty, a partnership that McDonnell and his sister created to manage beach rental properties.

William Sessoms Jr., president of Towne Financial Services, testified that McDonnell had not listed the loans from Williams on his personal financial statement.

If convicted, the McDonnells could face more than 20 years in prison and a large fine. McDonnell's four-year term as governor ended in January.

(Editing by Ian Simpson, Bill Trott and Mohammad Zargham)

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