RICHMOND, Va.— Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were found guilty of multiple counts of conspiracy and public corruption Thursday in a case alleging they traded access to the governor's office for $165,000 in loans and luxury gifts from a businessman seeking to win backing from the powerful couple for one of his company's nutritional supplements.
The former governor was found guilty on 11 of 13 federal charges, his wife on nine of 13. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 6. Family members wept as the verdicts were read.
The month-long trial had an almost soap opera feel to it, as defense attorneys offered intimate details of the couple's frayed relationship in their effort create sympathy for the former Virginia first lady and make the case that there was so little communication between the two that they couldn't have conspired to trade the power of the governor's office for their own personal gain.
Williams received immunity to testify against the McDonnells. He said he showered the couple with gifts, trips and arranged loans for the powerful couple because he wanted the governor's office to promote his company's tobacco-derived anti-inflammatory supplement.
In their unusual defense, the McDonnells—who had separate legal defense teams—tried to portray their marriage as so broken that they could not have conspired to take bribes as federal prosecutors charged.
In addition to springing for the $20,000 shopping spree for McDonnell, prosecutors said Williams wrote a $15,000 check to daughter Cailin McDonnell Young to pay for her wedding reception, gave a $50,000 loan to Maureen McDonnell, hosted the McDonnells at his multimillion-dollar vacation home, and paid for more than $5,000 worth of golf games and equipment from Kinloch Golf Club.
"The single, simple question of this case is why did he give them, why did they take them?" prosecutor Harbach said. Jonnie Williams knew what he wanted, Harbach added, and "the defendants knew what Jonnie Williams wanted."