The trial of former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife is, mercifully, coming to an end. Nearly every newspaper and TV station in the state has had reporters there, day after day. If you haven’t seen the coverage, you must have been living under a rock 🙂 I’ve been doing a few TV appearances about the case – latest yesterday – and will probably do a couple more next week.
Here’s the thing: as much coverage as there has been about the trial (The Virginian-Pilot has had reporters there every day and posted all of the exhibits here, The Washington Post has had a daily live blog) there has been one glaring omission. While reporting every little tidbit of testimony, I’ve seen almost nothing about how the jury is reacting to what they are hearing. Obviously, the jury can’t talk to the press; however, I expected some reporting of their reactions, if nothing more than their facial expressions. Perhaps this jury is very stoic?
Based on what I’ve read, it seems that on the 11 corruption counts – as I said before the case started – the McDonnells should be acquitted. I just don’t think the government has made its case.
I also think Bob McDonnell should be acquitted for the charge against him for falsifying the loan application that ultimately ended up in the hands of Towne Bank. Since it was his personal financial statement and not a joint one, the loan from Jonnie Williams to wife Maureen didn’t have to be disclosed.
There is a single charge of obstruction against Maureen McDonnell, for which she should also be acquitted. Testimony was given that she was not under investigation at the time the offenses occurred.
So that just leaves the last charge against the couple related to the PenFed loan application. Anyone who has ever done a mortgage loan application understands the process. However, leaving off the JW loan to Maureen just didn’t make any sense. (The loans to MoBo, with no personal guarantee by Bob McDonnell, do make sense. And the government hasn’t convinced me that those loans were to Bob.) This charge, if I were on the jury, I would convict them of.
But hey – I’m just an observer who hasn’t been in the courtroom for five weeks. And I’m no lawyer. So take what I say with a grain of salt 🙂
What do you think, dear reader? What charges, if any, should the McDonnells be convicted of?