RICHMOND Va. (Reuters) - Former Virginia
Governor Robert McDonnell testified on Thursday he was no longer living
with his wife, having moved out of his home and into a church about a
week before the start of their trial on bribery and corruption charges.
McDonnell, in his second day of testimony, described a marriage
marked by dwindling communication and angry outbursts from his wife,
culminating in a decision late last month to move out.
With their marriage under increasing strain, McDonnell said he
dreaded the idea of having to discuss the events of the trial every
day with his wife.
"I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t have the emotional capacity to
go home,” the former Republican governor, once considered a
potential presidential candidate, testified under questioning by his
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting $120,000
in loans and more than $50,000 in gifts and other favors from Jonnie
Williams Sr., then chief executive of Star Scientific Inc, in
exchange for promoting Anatabloc, a dietary supplement and the
company’s signature product.
During the trial, now in its fourth week, prosecutors have said the
couple were desperate for money and in deep trouble financially,
turning to Williams to help them out.
Robert McDonnell’s lawyers have mounted a defense that rests on
trying to convince a U.S. District Court jury that he and his wife
could not have conspired to take gifts and loans from the wealthy
businessman because the couple were not even talking to each other.
Maureen McDonnell remained expressionless and stared straight ahead
as her husband described their deteriorating relationship and her
fits of anger.
The former governor's defense team, headed by attorney Henry Asbill,
introduced an email that McDonnell sent his wife in early September
2011, that seemed part apology and part an effort to reconcile their
"I am a sinner,” McDonnell wrote, adding: "I’m trying to do better.”