Judge denies acquittal bid in trial of Virginia governor and wife
By Gary Robertson
U.S. District Judge James Spencer turned down the bids after a one-hour hearing. The motions came after prosecutors wrapped up their case against McDonnell, a Republican, and his wife after almost three weeks of testimony.
Defense lawyers are expected to start calling witnesses on Monday. The McDonnells face a 14-count indictment alleging they accepted more than $165,000 in loans and gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams Sr. in exchange for promoting his dietary supplement company Star Scientific Inc and its main product, Anatabloc.
McDonnell said after Spencer’s ruling that he was looking forward to Monday to be able to tell his story.
“Obviously this is crushing to be a defendant in a criminal case. But I know in my heart what the truth is,” McDonnell, 60, told reporters outside the courthouse.
The former governor’s lawyers also said the government had failed to prove that McDonnell made a false statement on a TowneBank loan application by not disclosing a loan from Williams on a personal financial statement.
Defense lawyers have listed 121 potential witnesses for the couple, twice the number prosecutors had listed. Jurors were given Friday off.
McDonnell’s four-year term ended in January. If the McDonnells are convicted, each could face a prison sentence of 20 years and hefty fines.
(This story corrects headline to say ex-governor instead of governor)
(Editing by Ian Simpson and Bill Trott)