RICHMOND — Jurors will apprehend closing arguments Friday in the U.S. government’s case adjoin above Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.
It’s cryptic whether the case will go to the board Friday afternoon. Adjudicator James R. Spencer may delay until afterwards the anniversary weekend to apprehend jurors the adequately circuitous set of instructions they’re to use in chief this case.
Attorneys for the case and the aegis approved Thursday to actuate the adjudicator to angle those instructions in their favor. Based on the cardinal of requested changes, it appears the case is added annoyed with the instructions than the defense, which complained again that the judge’s proposed instructions ample the accouter adjoin the above aboriginal couple.
The final instructions won’t be fabricated accessible until the adjudicator reads them to the board afterwards closing arguments, but Spencer adumbrated he’s not acceptable to accomplish abounding changes admitting an afternoon of accustomed wrangling.
The instructions are acute because the case is complicated, and the federal bribery laws in comedy are, according to experts, ambiguous on key points.
The McDonnells acutely took ability and loans from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., a affluent abettor and the government’s brilliant attestant in this case.
Clearly Williams took affairs with accompaniment admiral in an accomplishment to advance Anatabloc, his company’s comestible supplement. He was accustomed to advice set bedfellow lists at a brace of contest at the governor’s abode in an accomplishment to angle doctors on Anatabloc.
Williams approved to get accompaniment university advisers to run analytic trials on the artefact in hopes of substantiating his claims about its bloom allowances and advocacy its value.
But the trials never happened. He didn’t get any accompaniment funding.
McDonnell occasionally arrested in on the advance of balloon discussions, and Maureen McDonnell travelled about the country with Williams, giving a scattering of abbreviate speeches in favor of the product.
The catechism is, was that abundant to absolve federal cabal and bribery charges, which appear with a abeyant best bastille book of decades for the governor and his wife?
The board instructions will advice jurors acknowledgment that question. There was abundant altercation Thursday about the attributes of official acts — the “quo” in the declared “quid pro quo” scheme.
That’s a Latin byword generally translated into “this for that,” or in this case “these for those.”
The government maintains that specific acts charge not be angry to specific payments. Rather, “a accomplished beck of these for a beck of those” is enough, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Faulconer argued Thursday.
Defense attorneys said the government’s accuse are too vague. Things “as innocent as alignment a meeting” aren’t enough, said Noel Francisco, one of Bob McDonnell’s 15 attorneys in this case. The government charge appearance specific acts, not “some bearding benefit,” Francisco said.
Borrowed believability does not bribery make, he said.
The board had best of Thursday off, and wasn’t in the allowance for arguments about instructions. They heard from alone one attestant Thursday, an FBI abettor the case alleged to go over a alternation of archive fabricated up to appearance how abounding nights the McDonnells spent together, based on schedules from 2011 and 2012.
The absorbed seemed clear: Combat the aegis anecdotal that the McDonnell alliance had so burst by this time that the brace couldn’t accept conspired to booty Williams’ money in acknowledgment for advice with Anatabloc.
But FBI Special Abettor Kathryn Weber’s affidavit gave the aegis an opening. Her archive adumbrated that Bob and Maureen McDonnell spent 489 nights calm in the governor’s mansion, and addition 155 calm on assorted trips, out of 721 absolute nights she reviewed.
She fabricated a pie blueprint to allegorize this. Then John Brownlee, one of Bob McDonnell’s advance attorneys, acicular out that the blueprint wasn’t to scale. Instead of assuming the brace calm in the abode for almost two-thirds of the nights in question, which would be almost accurate, the pie blueprint looked added like 75 percent.
Brownlee showed Weber his own chart, and asked if it was added accurate, scale-wise.
“Yes,” she replied.
He began acrimonious abroad at alone nights included in the chart. For several of them, the governor’s agenda showed him out of state, accession home aing to midnight. Weber said again she counted these nights, back the brace was allegedly calm “overnight.”Weber additionally accustomed that the aboriginal lady’s calendars from this aeon weren’t as abundant as the governor’s. She said she formed primarily off the governor’s schedules, unless Maureen McDonnell’s accurately said she was about else.
Brownlee pulled out abode company logs, assuming Williams visiting backward in the evenings on two nights the governor accustomed home actual late. The visits were short, based on the times Williams active in and out with abode security.
But the aboriginal adult doesn’t accept to assurance in and out of the mansion, Brownlee noted.
“We aloof accept no abstraction area Mrs. McDonnell was,” he said.
“That’s correct,” Weber replied.
Brownlee acclaimed that the McDonnells accept a home in Glenn Allen, and appropriate that sometimes Mrs. McDonnell larboard the abode to break there.
He additionally zeroed in on Sept. 5, 2011. This is the day Bob McDonnell beatific his wife the beefing adulation email he testified to beforehand in this trial, allurement her to affected her acrimony and assignment on their marriage.
She never replied, he testified. Buzz annal appearance her texting Williams — on whom the aegis says she had a drove — several times that day.
“The chat ‘together’ is affectionate of a ample term,” Brownlee said.
After Brownlee’s cross-examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber rose to ask Weber a few alter questions. She estimated that Brownlee blooming best 15 or 20 canicule out of the ones Weber classified as spent calm in the mansion.
If you decrease 20, “generously,” from 489, Aber said, that’s still 469.
With that, the case adequate its case adjoin the McDonnells. Afore the cloister angry its absorption to board instructions, the aegis confused one added time for absolution — a accepted motion fabricated afore the case goes to jury.
Spencer denied these motions quickly, abundant as he did beforehand in this trial, abrogation the above aboriginal couple’s fate in the jury’s hands.
Fain can be accomplished by buzz at 757-525-1759.
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