The event everyone was waiting for occurred on Wednesday, as former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell took the stand in his own defense. It was a late-in-the-day outing, so McDonnell will testify again today. According to some court watchers, he could be on the stand well into next week.
Those to whom I have talked who have observed the trial in person say that McDonnell’s debut was excellent. But, remember, this is under direct questioning from his own lawyers, who have every incentive to put their client in the best light. The real drama will have to wait until the prosecution opens its cross-examination.
They have a single aim: to destroy McDonnell, because they have no other choice.
The defense will continue to build on the theme that McDonnell did nothing, at all, to benefit Jonnie Williams. Did Williams give the McDonnells gifts and loans? Yes — because the McDonnells thought all along that Williams was a friend who was doing what friends sometimes do: lend a helping hand.
Oh, and Maureen McDonnell was bonkers/stressed/out of control, so anything that appears to be too coincidental to be a coincidence is on her.
It’s a clever strategy that seeks to insulate Robert McDonnell from everything. If he did nothing wrong, the government’s case — based as it is on circumstantial evidence — collapses. It’s also an exceedingly dangerous strategy.
[Continue reading Norman Leahy's post at Bearing Drift.] Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.