(Recasts as prosecution wraps up case)
By Gary Robertson
RICHMOND, Va. Aug 14 Prosecutors in the federal
corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell
and his wife, Maureen, rested their case on Thursday after
showing jurors gifts they said were bribes from a businessman.
Prosecutors led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber
wrapped up on the 14th day of the high-profile trial. McDonnell
and his wife are accused of accepting more than $165,000 in
gifts and loans in exchange for promoting a businessman's
The defense is expected to move to dismiss charges on
Friday. If unsuccessful, lawyers for the McDonnells will likely
begin presenting witnesses on Monday.
On the last day of the prosecution's case, FBI Special Agent
David Hulser displayed items that included a Rolex watch, Louis
Vuitton shoes and Oscar de la Renta dresses.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Faulconer said the McDonnells
began returning the items to Jonnie Williams Sr., former chief
executive of Star Scientific Inc, now Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals
Inc, after media reports about the gifts and other
favors began appearing in spring 2013.
The McDonnells are charged with accepting the gifts and
loans in exchange for promoting Williams' dietary supplement
Anatabloc through events at the governor's mansion and other
Lawyers for the McDonnells have contended that the couple
could not have been conspiring with Williams, because their
marriage was crumbling and they were not on speaking terms.
The McDonnells have arrived in court separately and avoided
eye contact during the trial. An attorney for the first lady
said she had a "crush" on Williams.
But prosecutors have produced photos showing the Republican
governor and his wife embracing and smiling. Former staff
members have said they appeared to be a loving couple.
During his testimony, Hulser produced charts indicating that
the McDonnells exchanged more than 300 telephone calls of more
than a minute each between April 2011 and February 2013.
During the same period, Williams and the first lady
exchanged about half as many calls. 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.
(Editing by Ian Simpson, Susan Heavey, Richard Chang and Gunna