Witness: McDonnell struggled to rein in his wife

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell

Former Virginia
Gov. Bob McDonnell

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Former Gov. Bob McDonnell struggled to rein in his wife’s erratic behavior, causing turmoil throughout the executive staff and nearly prompting a mass resignation among workers in the governor’s mansion, a defense witness testified Monday. After prosecutors presented nearly three weeks of testimony in the public corruption trial of McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, lawyers for Bob McDonnell opened their defense with even more testimony that portrayed Maureen McDonnell badly, saying she lashed out when she didn’t get her way. Prosecutors say the McDonnells accepted more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company’s dietary supplements. The couple is charged in a 14-count indictment. The tight relationship between Maureen McDonnell and Williams has been a key issue at trial, with the former governor’s lawyers suggesting that she acted largely on her own to promote Williams’ tobacco-based supplement, Anatabloc. Janet Kelly, who served as secretary of the commonwealth under McDonnell,  said she had known about Maureen’s “challenging behavior” for years and that she took the job as secretary of the commonwealth only after receiving assurances she wouldn’t have to deal with Maureen. Kelly and other staffers intervened to thwart a mass resignation of the mansion staff, in which they wrote a joint letter stating that “to be treated like naughty children any time something doesn’t suit you is completely unacceptable.”

 

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