| RICHMOND, Va.
RICHMOND, Va. Aug 15 Defense lawyers for former
Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, have
moved that the couple be acquitted in their federal corruption
and bribery case.
The defense motions, which were filed late on Thursday and
Friday in U.S. District Court, came after prosecutors wrapped up
their case against McDonnell, a Republican, and his wife after
almost three weeks of testimony.
They face a 14-count indictment alleging they accepted more
than $165,000 in loans and gifts from businessman Jonnie
Williams Sr. in exchange for promoting his dietary supplement
company Star Scientific Inc and its main product, Anatabloc.
Lawyers for McDonnell argued that prosecutors have failed to
show that he carried out or promised to carry out any official
act for Williams.
"The most that the government can show, granting it the
benefit of all reasonable inferences, is that Mr. McDonnell
facilitated Mr. Williams' access to certain government
decision-makers so that Mr. Williams could attempt to persuade
them to his cause," the motion said.
The former governor's lawyers also said the government had
failed to prove that McDonnell made a false statement on a
TowneBank loan application by not disclosing a loan from
Williams on a personal financial statement.
Prosecutors had not shown that Williams made a personal loan
to McDonnell, defense lawyers said. Instead, Williams had
extended the loan to Maureen McDonnell and a real estate company
run by the governor and his sister.
Maureen McDonnell's lawyers said in separate filings that
the governor had not carried out any official acts for Williams
and the former first lady cannot be guilty as a private citizen.
They also argued that prosecutors failed to show she made a
false statement on a loan application to Pentagon Federal Credit
Union or tried to obstruct a grand jury proceeding.
U.S. District Judge James Spencer was expected to rule on
the motions on Friday as the jury took a day off. If Spencer
turns down the motions, lawyers for the McDonnells likely will
begin presenting witnesses on Monday.
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.
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 and Bill Trott)