McDonnell: "I feel great, glad we get to start our case"

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Associated Press & 13News Now

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 19 at 6:13 AM

Live coverage of the McDonnell trial

12:15 p.m. UPDATE: Only one alternate is left after a second jury member was dismissed due to a family emergency.  The jury now consists of five women and seven men.

11:50 a.m. UPDATE: First witness for the defense was a former bookkeeper for the real estate company that McDonnell co-owns with his sister. She said said she had full access to McDonnell’s business checking accounts and knew about the loans from Starwood trust to the company but didn’t know it was from Jonnie Williams.
Second witness was former Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly. She’s answered questions from defense attorneys about what it was like to work for McDonnell. She described him as gracious personally and direct professionally.
She told jurors that she only agreed to take the job as a cabinet secretary in McDonnell’s administration if she didn’t have to have direct interaction with Maureen McDonnell.
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9 a.m. UPDATE: Bob McDonnell told 13News Now reporter Nick Ochsner: "I feel great, glad we get to start our case and to be able to tell our story."
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RICHMOND (AP) - The defense is set to begin presenting its case today in the corruption trial of former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife.

Judge James R. Spencer on Friday rejected a request to dismiss charges against the couple. Their attorneys argued  that the prosecution had failed to prove the McDonnells had violated any laws.

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday after nearly three weeks of testimony.  Prosecutors called 45 witnesses during the nearly three weeks of trial, including former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams, which has produced many embarrassing details about the former first couple's time in office.

The McDonnells are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from the former CEO of a dietary supplements maker in exchange for promoting his company's products. They could face decades in prison if convicted.

Defense attorneys have said Bob McDonnell will testify at some point. They indicated in court papers that Maureen McDonnell probably will not testify.

The trial has already had plenty of embarrassing moments for the onetime first lady.

She's been portrayed by former aides as a screaming tyrant. One acknowledged calling her a "nutbag."

Her own attorney says she had a crush on the wealthy businessman who, according to prosecutors, lavished the McDonnells with thousands of dollars in gifts and loans in exchange for promoting his company's products.

As bad as it has been for the first lady, it could get even worse. Defense attorneys have largely been responsible for the portrait that has emerged in the McDonnells' corruption trial and they are expected to call other former Maureen McDonnell aides to the stand.

13News Now reporter @13NickOchsner will be tweeting from the trial in Richmond.

Read/download the McDonnell indictment

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