Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Monday that his wife never asked him to do anything to help the wealthy vitamin entrepreneur who gave the couple more than $165,000 in gifts and loans and is at the center of the couple's public corruption trial.
Back on the witness stand for the fourth day, McDonnell said there was no implied understanding that he would do any favors for former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams.
Bob and Maureen McDonnell are charged with accepting gifts and loans from Williams in exchange for promoting his company's dietary supplements, particularly the tobacco-derived anti-inflammatory Anatabloc. The trial entered its fifth week Monday, and McDonnell answered questions from his wife's lawyer before prosecutors began cross-examination.
The McDonnells' marital trouble has been a major issue in the trial, and the former governor acknowledged that he had dealt with his wife's angry outbursts for years and didn't do enough to help staffers cope. Eventually, he said, Maureen McDonnell agreed to counseling and medication.
He said he did not think his wife's anger directed at him was warranted and called her grievances overblown.
"They were always about little things," he testified Monday.
He said his wife rejected marital counseling because she was afraid it would become public.
The defense has suggested they could not have conspired in a gifts-for-favors scheme because they were barely talking to each other.
McDonnell testified Friday that he began working late to avoid his wife's wrath and that he is living in the rectory of a Catholic church during the trial to avoid dealing with her. The defense also introduced a Sept. 5, 2011, email to his wife in which McDonnell lamented the troubled state of their marriage and begged her to work with him to fix it.
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