If one reads between the lines of the latest mountain of motions filed by the legal defense team for former and disgraced Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, it seems the best way for the governor to get off is to reveal just what his former pro football cheerleader wife was doing to him rather than getting him off.
Maureen McDonnell’s testimony could reveal that the marriage of the former Governor and his spouse was “strained” and that she was milking former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams for cash and loans behind her husband’s back, not conspiring with him.
McDonnell, his lawyers say “had no timely knowledge of many of the interactions with Williams” because the governor and his wife weren’t as close or loving as they portrayed to Virginians.
In other words, if McDonnell’s legal team can throw her to the wolves, he just might escape a feeding frenzy from the legal pack.
Testimony from her won’t happen if the McDonnells are tried together, so the governor’s defense team filed a 28-page memorandum with a motion to split the trials as part of the tsunami of motions filed Tuesday night that also include dismissal of 12 of the 14 counts against the governor and his wife.
Since her attorneys have signed off on this interesting and risky legal strategy, one has to wonder is she is taking the fall willingly.
The legal team for the former governor started suggestion that it was mostly her fault after the indicments came down for using the power of the governor’s office to help Williams in exchange for gifts, cash and loans.
They’ve worked hard to plant the notion that McDonnell was “taken in” by a scheming woman who liked living the high life and didn’t mind using her husband’s name and the power of his office to pay for it.
After all, a lawyer involved in the governor’s legal team likes to suggest in private “off the record” conversations with reporters, it was Mrs. McDonnell who talked Williams into buying a Rolex as a gift from her to her husband.
Perhaps, but McDonnell liked to show off the watch and, if what the lawyer suggests is true, never asked where she got the the money at a time when they were struggling to pay bills.
Or was this just a case of a marriage built on a vow to “love, honor and obey until debt does us part?”
Politics, it is often said, involves strange bedfellows.