Opening arguments in the McDonnell corruption trial began with a bang, so to speak. Family values were conspicuously absent from the defense statements about Maureen McDonnell's fascination with high-rolling donor Jonnie Williams.
From WTVR reporter tweets:
The live blog just posted this:
Bob McDonnell admits to a “dysfunctional” marriage. Says Williams “poisoned” it.
So the strategy is to blame the wife for an 'infatuation' with a rich donor? Yet that didn't exactly stop Governor Bob from taking some expensive gifts, donations, and vacations on Williams' dime.
From the live blog:
Prosecution for their part showed evidence of pictures of bob McDonnell driving a Ferrari and text messages of him asking Jonnie Williams for 20k
It appears that the strategy is to play Bob as the (sort of) cuckolded husband. But that doesn't explain why he was asking for donations via text message from his wife's 'playmate.'
Nothing about this surprises me much. Republicans are awesome at shoving family values down the throats of everyone, but they don't really care if they live it. When it comes to conservative politics, it's all about power, money, and more power. McDonnell was once the rising conservative star and he liked the perks that came with that. Now he's playing the aggrieved husband whose wife didn't exactly have an affair but was inappropriate with a rich corporate favor-seeking donor.
Is he actually expecting to revive his political career after this, or just stay out of prison?
Washington Post has more on Bob McDonnell's attorney's opening statement. That's a big heavy bus they're tossing on Maureen:
John Brownlee, Robert F. McDonnell’s attorney, told jurors that McDonnell’s work as governor “took a toll” on his family, especially his wife. Though the governor tried to “shield the dysfunction of his marriage from his youngest children and the public,” behind the scenes, the relationship was in shambles, Brownlee said.↓ Story continues below ↓
At one point, Brownlee said, Maureen McDonnell told her husband she “hated him.” She complained of not having enough money, and of him being away too much. What emerged was a rift so wide that “an outside, in this case another man, could invade and poison the marriage,” Brownlee said.
Brownlee said the governor never embarrassed his wife in public, and at least once, he appealed to her to in an e-mail to “help save the marriage.” Brownlee said jurors will get to hear Robert McDonnell read the e-mail, and, “It will show you just how broken things were in their marriage.”
Brownlee said the note “fell upon blind eyes and deaf ears,” as the night it was received, Maureen McDonnell was “distracted with other interests.”