Back from lunch, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Dry is continuing to attempt to undermine former governor Robert F. McDonnell’s various explanations that he did not actually need any money from businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr.
For instance, McDonnell had testified that Williams’s $15,000 check for catering at his daughter’s wedding wasn’t a necessity because he could have easily just written a “convenience check” off of a credit card to cover the cost of catering.
Williams wrote a $15,000 check from his family trust for catering at Cailin McDonnell’s wedding.
So Dry has been exploring the topic of convenience checks. That’s a check written off of a credit card, letting the card holder get a cash advance but requiring him or her to pay back the money through some combination of fees, as well as monthly payments that include interest.
Dry showed McDonnell two examples of times when the couple wrote convenience checks off of a credit card held by Maureen McDonnell. In one month in 2010, they wrote three checks that totaled more than $12,000. One check went to pay off another credit card held by the first lady. Another went to pay off expenses owed by MoBo Real Estate partners. A third went to Bob McDonnell’s checking account.
In another month, a $5,000 check was written to Bob McDonnell off of Maureen McDonnell’s credit card.
In each case, McDonnell testified that though his wife’s name is signed on the checks, in fact, he signed those checks, with her authorization.
Though he didn’t spell out the point, Dry’s emphasis seemed to be that the couple’s finances were controlled by the governor, both those financial instruments that were officially in Maureen McDonnell’s name and those placed in the governor’s name. That’s an important point as prosecutors try to show that a loan from Williams made out to Maureen McDonnell in May 2011 was, in fact, a loan to both the governor and first lady.
Also, the convenience checks seemed to indicate that the couple allowed money to flow freely back and forth between the two of them, as well as with MoBo, the partnership McDonnell owned with his sister. Again, the point there, though not spelled out by Dry, is to suggest that checks Williams wrote in 2012 to MoBo were in fact loans to the couple and not to the corporate entity.
Finally, Dry asked, isn’t is it the case that between 2009 and April 2011, just before Williams provided his first loan to Maureen McDonnell, that the couple had drawn $40,000 in convenience checks off credit cards?
McDonnell said he did not know.
“And all of those would require monthly payments, yes?” Dry asked.
“Yes,” McDonnell answered.
But the loan Williams provided, “that didn’t require a monthly pay, did it?”
“No,” McDonnell responded.
“And there were no upfront fees?” Dry asked.
“No,” McDonnell agreed.